Ireland’s telecoms regulator the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has published its latest market report for the three months ended 31 December 2009. The report shows that broadband internet penetration in the Republic, including mobile broadband subscriptions, stood at 32.4% by the year end, up from 30.5% at 3Q09. Excluding the impact of mobile broadband however, which is proving to be a popular option, the penetration rate falls to 21.9% – based on data from the Central Statistics Office which gives the population as 4,459,300. The regulator is also mindful that its 32.4% rate could be skewed by double counting of people owning both a fixed and mobile broadband subscription. Nonetheless, household broadband penetration continues to grow, reaching 61% by the start of this year, from 59.4% in the third quarter.
The popularity of Wi-Fi hotspots is waning though. ComReg’s report says the number of Wi-Fi hotspots dipped to 1,357 at the end of 2009, down 5% year-on-year, even though the total for Wi-Fi access points climbed 8% over the same period to 3,561. Usage of Wi-Fi hotspots is also falling. In the final trimester of last year average usage per hotspot was down 3.4% y-o-y, reflecting the impact of decreased network traffic in the economic downturn.
The recession is also evident in terms of overall telecommunications revenues in the Republic in Q409, which dipped 2.3% year-on-year to EUR974 million. Despite this fall, the total amount of voice call minutes in Q409 increased 1.4% to more than 4.8 billion minutes, driven by an 84 million increase in mobile voice call minutes, ComReg said.