Consumers enjoy cheaper calls as usage declines

Significant increase in volume of data being consumed, says ComReg

Phone users continue to use their handsets predominantly for access to the internet with mobile data volumes up 38.5 per cent.

Phone users continue to use their handsets predominantly for access to the internet with mobile data volumes up 38.5 per cent.

 

Consumers enjoyed cheaper mobile phone charges last year but there was a notable decline in the use of voice calls on both landlines and mobile handsets during 2019.

In contrast, there was a significant increase in the volume of data usage on both mobile phones and fixed broadband.

New figures published by the telecom regulator, ComReg show mobile phone costs are continuing to fall with charges for bill-pay customers down 7 per cent last year, although the decrease for pre-paid customers was less significant.

The average monthly revenue per user (ARPU) for bill-pay customers at the end of last year was €34.48 compared to €37.11 in 2018. For pre-paid customers the ARPU was €14.19 at the end of 2019 – just 3 cent cheaper than in 2018.

The ComReg figures show income from retail customers for telecom firms totalled €910.2 million between October and December last year – an increase of 1.4 per cent over the same period in 2018.

However, the trend of phone users making fewer voice calls is continuing with total voice traffic minutes in the fourth quarter of 2019 down 6.7 per cent compared to the same period the previous year.

The decline was most pronounced on fixed lines where voice traffic was down over 20 per cent.

Calls on mobile phones, which are used for the vast majority of voice calls and account for 84 per cent of all voice traffic minutes, were down 3.5 pre cent last year.

There has also been a sharp decline in text messages with customers favouring the use of apps like WhatsApp for text communications.

The ComReg figures show fixed broadband subscriptions increased by 2.3 per cnet to 1.46 million.

As expected phone users continue to use their handsets predominantly for access to the internet with mobile data volumes up 38.5 per cent in the final quarter of last year compared to the same period in 2018.

Over 145,000 landline customers switched service provider last year as well as over 464,000 mobile phone users.

According to ComReg, Pure Telcomp offers the cheapest tariff for residential customers with a standalone landline for a basket of 60 calls at €35.22 while Eir has the most expensive at €49.98.