Average pay phone now used less than once every two days

Comreg reported 5.6m mobile phone subscriptions in the State last year

The Eircom company logo  on a pay phone. Figures from Eircom show that between June 2014 and May 2015 there were, on average, 11.6 calls made per month from each pay phone nationally and 14.4 per month in Dublin.  File photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

The Eircom company logo on a pay phone. Figures from Eircom show that between June 2014 and May 2015 there were, on average, 11.6 calls made per month from each pay phone nationally and 14.4 per month in Dublin. File photograph: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

 

The average Irish pay phone is now used less than once every two days.

Figures from Eircom show that between June 2014 and May 2015 there were, on average, 11.6 calls made per month from each pay phone nationally and 14.4 per month in Dublin.

This works out at a national average of a call every 2.62 days nationally and once every 2.11 days in Dublin.

The number of Eircom phone boxes has fallen by almost two thirds in the last 10 years as the popularity of mobile phones has continued to increase.

An Eircom spokeswoman said there were 304 phone boxes in the Dublin area and a further 895 in the rest of the country, down from 842 in the capital and 3,247 elsewhere a decade ago.

Communications regulator Comreg reported there were 5.6 million mobile phone subscriptions in the State last year, with the most recent Census showing a population of just under 4.6 million people.

Eircom is obliged to provide public payphones throughout the State under the terms of its Universal Service Obligation, a regulation mandated by ComReg.

As part of the obligation, where there is “an absence of reasonable need” the pay phone may be removed.

Anti-social behaviour

This includes cases where there is less than one minute’s usage on average per day over the previous six months; another payphone nearby; or if there are requests from State bodies due to anti-social behaviour or continuous vandalism.

A 2013 Comreg report on pay phones noted that those “located in more extreme rural areas”, disadvantaged locations or in regions with limited phone coverage “may be more relied upon” by consumers.

The price of calls from payphones has increased in recent years.

The minimum fee for all coin calls from payphones went from €1 to €2 in 2013, with the price per minute for local/national calls rising to €0.50 per minute (from €0.25) and to €1 per minute (from €0.50) for calls to mobiles.