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Ireland Mobile Phones Market Report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Mobile Phones market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report covers the Irish consumer market for mobile phones and mobile network providers. Mobile phones are defined as any device being used to place or receive calls by connecting to a mobile network. ‘Basic mobile phones’ and ‘Feature phones’ are terms used to describe non-smartphones.

Mobile networks are defined as networks providing either data, voice or SMS (Short Message Service) facilities to a mobile device. Data delivered over Wi-Fi is not included under the ‘data’ category. Primarily, this report refers to the use of mobile networks through traditional mobile phones or smartphones. However, reference is also made to tablet devices, as these can connect to mobile networks for data.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by James Wilson, a leading analyst in the Technology sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Data allowance is the most important factor when choosing a phone plan. This reflects the significant increase in mobile data usage in recent years as use of data heavy streaming services on mobile devices grows. Mobile operators could therefore offer greater flexibility within their contracts to enable consumers to modify data allowances to reflect changes in their usage James Wilson
Technology Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Issues covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Figure 1: Total number of mobile phone subscribers, NI and RoI, 2014-19
          • Forecast
            • Figure 2: Indexed number of mobile phone subscribers, NI and RoI, 2014-24
          • Market factors
            • Smartphone ownership remains at peak levels
              • Consumers opting for pay monthly services
                • Data usage continues to grow
                  • Mobile operators stepping up 5G preparations
                    • Companies, brands and innovations
                      • The consumer
                        • Irish mobile phone market dominated by Apple and Samsung
                          • Figure 3: Manufacturer of smartphone owned, NI and RoI, March 2019
                          • Figure 4: Operating system consumers use on their smartphone, NI and RoI, March 2019
                        • O2 the leading provider in NI, Three and Vodafone in RoI
                          • Figure 5: Mobile network providers used by consumers for their main mobile phone, NI, March 2019
                          • Figure 6: Mobile network providers used by consumers for their main mobile phone, RoI, March 2019
                        • Contracts the main payment plan used by Irish consumers
                          • Figure 7: Type of mobile network connection, NI and RoI, March 2019
                        • Majority of consumers do not switch mobile network provider
                          • Figure 8: Switched mobile network provider in the last 12 months, NI and RoI, March 2019
                        • Satisfaction with mobile phone coverage high among Irish consumers
                          • Figure 9: Agreement with statements related to mobile phones, NI and RoI, March 2019
                        • What we think
                        • The Market – What You Need to Know

                          • Subdued growth in RoI mobile phone market
                            • Smartphone ownership high
                              • Contracts the main type of mobile payment plan
                                • Data usage grows across the UK/NI and RoI
                                • Market Size and Forecast

                                    • Mobile phone subscriptions to see slow growth in 2019
                                      • Figure 10: Total number of mobile phone subscribers, IoI, NI and RoI, 2014-24
                                    • Mobile phone subscriptions to growing through to 2024
                                      • Figure 11: Indexed number of mobile phone subscribers, NI and RoI, 2014-24
                                    • Contracts remain popular among consumers
                                      • Figure 12: Mobile subscriptions, by prepay and post-pay, RoI, 2014-18
                                      • Figure 13: Percentage of customers on pre- or post-pay, by operator, RoI, 2018
                                    • Consumers see cost of phone contracts increase
                                      • Figure 14: Monthly average revenue per user, by prepay and post-pay, RoI, 2014-18
                                    • Marginal growth in value of mobile market expected in 2019
                                      • Figure 15: Total value of the mobile communications market, RoI, 2014-24
                                    • Voice communications driving revenue growth in mobile market
                                      • Figure 16: Annualised mobile retail revenues, RoI, 2014-18
                                    • Mobile voice traffic flat in 2018, landline minutes decline
                                      • Figure 17: Total voice traffic, RoI, 2014-18
                                      • Figure 18: Proportion of voice traffic via mobile and fixed channels, RoI, 2014 and 2018
                                  • Market Drivers

                                    • Ownership of smartphones remains high
                                      • Figure 19: Ownership of, or access to, mobile technology devices, NI and RoI, March 2019
                                    • NI consumers satisfied with mobile phone reception
                                      • Figure 20: Satisfaction with reception of mobile service, UK and NI, 2019
                                    • Service performance the leading complaint for UK/NI mobile users
                                      • Figure 21: Reasons consumers make a complaint about mobile phones, UK (including NI), 2018
                                    • Strong growth in mobile data usage continues in 2018
                                      • Figure 22: Average monthly data usage, UK (including NI), 2014-18
                                      • Figure 23: Average mobile data usage, RoI, 2013-18
                                    • UK/NI and RoI consumers benefit from competitive mobile data costs
                                      • Figure 24: Cost of 1GB of mobile data in selected European Union countries, 2018
                                    • Smartphones a key channel for online shopping
                                      • Figure 25: Usage of smartphones to shop online in the last three months, NI and RoI, December 2018
                                    • Vodafone Ireland launched first 5G trial
                                    • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                      • Camera quality of new handsets evolving
                                        • Three UK commits to frictionless data usage
                                          • Sky and Tesco Mobile using main businesses to reward mobile customers
                                          • Who’s Innovating?

                                            • First 5G-enabled phones preparing to enter the market
                                              • Foldable handsets ready for launch
                                                • Handsets incorporating more rear lenses to improve picture quality
                                                  • Wireless charging is now built-in handset technology
                                                  • Competitive Strategies – Key Players

                                                      • BT Group (BT, EE, Open Reach)
                                                        • BT Mobile
                                                          • Key facts
                                                            • Products and services
                                                              • Recent developments
                                                                • EE (Everything Everywhere)
                                                                  • Key facts
                                                                    • Products and services
                                                                      • Recent developments
                                                                        • CK Hutchison Holdings (Three)
                                                                          • Key facts
                                                                            • Products and services
                                                                              • Recent developments
                                                                                • Eir Group
                                                                                  • Key facts
                                                                                    • Products and services
                                                                                      • Recent developments
                                                                                        • Post Mobile
                                                                                          • Key facts
                                                                                            • Products and services
                                                                                              • Sky Plc
                                                                                                • Key facts
                                                                                                  • Products and services
                                                                                                    • Recent developments
                                                                                                      • Telefónica (O2)
                                                                                                        • Key facts
                                                                                                          • Products and services
                                                                                                            • Recent developments
                                                                                                              • Tesco Mobile
                                                                                                                • Key facts
                                                                                                                  • Products and services
                                                                                                                    • Recent developments
                                                                                                                      • Vodafone
                                                                                                                        • Key facts
                                                                                                                          • Products and services
                                                                                                                            • Recent developments
                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                              • Android and iOS the main operating systems used
                                                                                                                                • NI mobile market dominated by O2, Three and Vodafone in RoI
                                                                                                                                  • Irish consumers favour mobile phone contracts
                                                                                                                                    • Satisfaction with mobile services high among Irish consumers
                                                                                                                                    • Manufacturer and Operating System Used

                                                                                                                                        • Apple and Samsung the leading smartphone brands in Ireland
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Manufacturer of smartphone owned, NI and RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                        • iPhone popular among young consumers
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Ownership of an Apple or Samsung smartphone (eg iPhone), by age, NI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 28: Ownership of an Apple smartphone (eg iPhone), by age, RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Android dominates operating system usage
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 29: Operating system consumers use on their smartphone, NI and RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Android popular among C2DEFs
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: Use of Android operating system on smartphones, by social class, NI and RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: Use of iOS operating system on smartphones, by social class, NI and RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Mobile Network Provider Used

                                                                                                                                          • O2 the main mobile network in NI
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 32: Mobile network providers used by consumers for their main mobile phone, NI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Millennials are key O2 users
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 33: Consumers using O2 as the mobile network provider for their main mobile phone, by generation, March 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Three and Vodafone dominate RoI mobile market
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 34: Mobile network providers used by consumers for their main mobile phone, RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Urban rural divide in mobile network usage
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Top four mobile network providers used by consumers for their main mobile phone, by region, RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Type of Mobile Network Connection

                                                                                                                                            • Post-paid services remain popular among Irish consumers
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Type of mobile network connection, NI and RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                            • Mobile connection type is linked to household income
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Consumers’ use of pay-as-you-go and contract services with their phone, by income, NI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Consumers’ use of pay-as-you-go and contract services with their phone, by income, RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                          • Switching Mobile Network Provider

                                                                                                                                              • Irish consumers staying with current network provider
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 39: Switched mobile network provider in the last 12 months, NI and RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                              • 16-34-year-olds most likely to switch providers
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Consumers who have switched mobile network provider in the last 12 months, by age, NI and RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Switching mobile networks lowest in rural areas
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Consumers who have not switched mobile network provider in the last 12 months, by location, NI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Consumers who have not switched mobile network provider in the last 12 months, by location, RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                            • Attitudes towards Mobile Phones

                                                                                                                                                • Irish consumers happy with mobile network coverage
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Agreement with statements relating to mobile phones, NI and RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Urban consumers happiest with mobile network coverage
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Agreement with the statement ‘I find the coverage of my phone network to be good’, by area, NI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Agreement with the statement ‘I find the coverage of my phone network to be good’, by area, RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Wireless charging appeals to Millennials
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Agreement with the statement ‘I would be interested in getting a smartphone that can be charged wirelessly’, by generation, NI and RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Damaged smartphone devices highest among Millennials
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Agreement with statements relating to mobile phones, by age, NI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Agreement with statements relating to mobile phones, by age, RoI, March 2019
                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                                                                                  • Generational cohort definitions
                                                                                                                                                    • Abbreviations