Ireland to become 'testing ground' for new trading cards


Ireland is to become the testing ground for the next generation of trading cards, it emerged today.

Panini, the organisation behind the popular football players stickers collection, is bringing the collectible cards market to the worldwide web for the first time.

Children will be able to buy Mutone cards in shops, register them on the internet, and then play against other collectors on line and exchange points for free ringtones and other online bonus extras.

Panini said it chose Ireland as its trial base because of its youthful population and the Irish love affair with the mobile phone.

Mark Warsop, Panini's marketing director, said they anticipate a Munitone craze across the country. “Ireland was the perfect launch pad for the Mutones - there are few places in the world with such a young, tech-savvy population with such a good sense of humour,” he said.

Panini said according to a November 2008 International Communications Report from Ofcom, Ireland uses mobile phones more than anywhere else in the world.

Each person spends an average of 179 minutes on their handset every month and sends over 150 texts, compared with just 81 in the UK. Monthly spending by the Irish on their phone bills is second only to Switzerland among the major European markets, according to 2005 figures from ComReg. In addition, birth rates have been steadily increasing in the Republic since 1994 and just over a fifth of the population is under the age of 14.