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The mobile phone industry in Ireland has undergone considerable changes over the past decade. New entrants such as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) have transformed the landscape of the carrier services segment of the market.

The carrier services sectors in both NI and RoI remain dominated by a small group of service providers, but in both regions new 3G services and MVNOs have introduced a new element of competition. Both the markets in NI and RoI are highly competitive, a situation guaranteed by a public regulator.

Data services have grown in importance in both regions with enhanced 3G (third generation) mobile telephony technology now available.

The mobile sector has been reshaped both by commercial forces and technological change. On the technology side, the introduction of 3G services has opened both RoI and NI markets to a wider range of end user services, with content services playing a small but growing role.

Consequently, network provision alone is no longer a guarantee of commercial success. Increasingly, it is the value-added services and content that can be delivered via 3G and increasingly 3.5G services which is determining the future competitive shape of the industry. While voice traffic continues to dominate the market, data traffic and value added services are of growing importance.

The introduction of new services has gone hand-in-hand with investment in mobile infrastructure to deliver those services and the availability of new handsets to exploit the potential of these new services.

Key issues

  • The current economic climate has created a difficult trading environment generally. The mobile phone sector has a very wide customer base catering to both industry and consumers. Will this insulate it or leave the industry more exposed?

  • The mobile phone sector is complex in terms of the interrelationships between players and end users; which players control the market and how is that changing?

  • What are the internal and broader social, legal and economic factors impacting on the market and how are these changing?

  • Just how competitive is the mobile sector and what are its strengths and weaknesses?

What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Key issues
        • Abbreviations and terminology
        • Future Opportunities

          • Mobile phone as self improvement tool – educating the over-65s
            • Going vertical and virtual
              • MNOs seek more value added
                • Mobile phone as social communicator
                  • Web of trust services
                  • Market in Brief

                    • An all-Ireland market worth €3.2 billion
                      • Voice services remain dominant but data services are driving the market forward
                        • A complex market structure…
                          • Gaining in complexity
                            • Phones get smarter and more feature rich
                              • And more lifestyle orientated
                                • Big multinationals dominate the market
                                • Market Background

                                  • Key points
                                    • The structure of the mobile phone industry in Ireland
                                      • As the industry structure becomes more complex
                                        • The value chain stretches…
                                            • Figure 1: A simple value chain
                                          • MNOs are the hub of the industry
                                              • Figure 2: The structure of relationships in the mobile phone industry, IoI, 2009
                                            • Types of mobile services by technology
                                            • Internal Market Environment

                                              • Key points
                                                • Integration: The new strategic force
                                                  • The mobile phone becomes entertainment centre….
                                                    • Leading to ‘feature inflation’…
                                                      • Handsets influence carrier service choice
                                                        • Will handset manufacturers gain more influence over the market?
                                                          • Converged technologies lead to converged regulation
                                                            • Co-ordinated licensing
                                                              • Concerns about MTRs and inadvertent mobile roaming….
                                                                • A hot issue in 2009
                                                                  • The solution hits the carriers hard
                                                                    • Operator-switching becomes easier
                                                                      • Figure 3: Trends in number portability in RoI (thousand numbers), Q1 2005-Q1 2009
                                                                    • Network sharing grows
                                                                      • WiMAX set for investment: but does it only have a future in RoI?
                                                                        • Concerns over radiation from mobile phones
                                                                          • Environmental concern over the positioning of mobile phone base stations
                                                                            • Spectrum allocation in NI
                                                                              • SMS tax in RoI?
                                                                              • Broader Market Environment

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • A tough 2009 and 2010 for RoI…
                                                                                    • Figure 4: Economic outlook, NI and RoI, 2008-10
                                                                                  • And the picture in NI is not too rosy either
                                                                                    • Growing need for mobile communications
                                                                                      • Population growth and structure helps drive the consumer market
                                                                                        • Figure 5: The population of Ireland, 2002-08
                                                                                      • Young and vibrant population drives the industry
                                                                                        • Figure 6: NI and RoI population, by age group, 2007
                                                                                      • Does the ageing NI population pose a challenge to mobile marketers?
                                                                                        • Figure 7: Population projections, by age group, NI, 2006-26
                                                                                        • Figure 8: Population projections, by age group, RoI, 2006-26
                                                                                    • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                                                                      • Strengths
                                                                                        • Weaknesses
                                                                                        • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • Smartphones become the focus of the consumer market
                                                                                              • Samsung first in 12MP race
                                                                                                • Samsung launched the first phone with an HD video camera
                                                                                                  • Mobiles go social networking
                                                                                                    • Free phones come to pay-as-you-go
                                                                                                      • 3 Ireland launches ad-funded VOD service
                                                                                                        • O2 Ireland's bill monitoring tool
                                                                                                          • O2 joggle for the family market
                                                                                                          • Market Value and Forecast

                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                              • Strong sector growth seen up until 2009
                                                                                                                • Figure 9: Estimated market value of the mobile phone sector (€m), IoI, 2004-09
                                                                                                              • NI market outperforms RoI
                                                                                                                • Figure 10: Estimated market value of the IoI mobile phone industry by region (€m), 2004-09
                                                                                                                • Figure 11: Comparative trends in RoI and NI mobile phone sectors (€m), 2004-09
                                                                                                              • Seven million connections…
                                                                                                                • Figure 12: The number of mobile phone connections by region, RoI and NI, 2004-09
                                                                                                              • And more connections than people in both RoI and NI
                                                                                                                • Figure 13: The number of mobile phone connections per capita by region, RoI and NI, 2004-09
                                                                                                              • ARPU drops in RoI but holds up in NI
                                                                                                                • Figure 14: ARPU by region (€ per annum), RoI and NI, 2004-09
                                                                                                            • Market Segmentation

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Carrier services dominate the sector
                                                                                                                  • Figure 15: Expenditure on carrier services (€m), RoI and NI, 2004-09
                                                                                                                • Voice traffic the main revenue generator especially in RoI
                                                                                                                  • Figure 16: The structure of the mobile sectors (€m and %), RoI and NI, 2008
                                                                                                                • But data services are the main driver of growth
                                                                                                                    • Figure 17: The total growth in revenue by market segment and region, %, 2004-08
                                                                                                                  • Handset sales beginning to be hit by SIM-only deals
                                                                                                                    • Figure 18: Access device (handsets) revenue by region, 2004-09
                                                                                                                  • SIM-only deals help boost contracts
                                                                                                                    • Figure 19: Share of mobile connections accounted for by post pay, contracts (%), 2004-09
                                                                                                                • Supplier Market: Equipment

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Infrastructure suppliers
                                                                                                                      • Figure 20: The main suppliers of infrastructure in Ireland, 2009
                                                                                                                    • Alcatel-Lucent Ireland Ltd
                                                                                                                      • Ericsson UK and Ireland
                                                                                                                        • Motorola Ltd
                                                                                                                          • Nokia-Siemens Networks
                                                                                                                            • Nortel Networks
                                                                                                                              • Access device suppliers
                                                                                                                                • Figure 21: Estimated share of the mobile handset market, by volume, RoI and NI, 2008
                                                                                                                              • Apple
                                                                                                                                • LG UK and Ireland
                                                                                                                                  • Motorola
                                                                                                                                    • Nokia UK and Ireland
                                                                                                                                      • Research in Motion
                                                                                                                                        • Samsung Mobile UK and Ireland
                                                                                                                                          • Sony Ericsson UK and Ireland
                                                                                                                                          • Supplier Market: Carrier Services

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • The major carrier service providers
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 22: Estimated share of carrier services revenue, by operator, RoI and NI, 2008
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 23: Estimated share of mobile subscribers, by operator, RoI and NI, end of 2008
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Estimated share of the pre-pay and post pay subscribers in NI, end 2008
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 25: Estimated share of the pre-pay and post pay subscribers in RoI, end 2008
                                                                                                                                              • Common carrier service suppliers
                                                                                                                                                • 3
                                                                                                                                                  • O2
                                                                                                                                                    • Tesco Mobile
                                                                                                                                                      • Vodafone
                                                                                                                                                        • RoI carriers
                                                                                                                                                          • Meteor Mobile Communications
                                                                                                                                                            • Eircom Mobile
                                                                                                                                                              • NI carriers
                                                                                                                                                                • Orange
                                                                                                                                                                  • T-Mobile
                                                                                                                                                                    • Virgin Mobile (Virgin Media)
                                                                                                                                                                    • Supplier Market: Distributors

                                                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                        • Leading mobile phone retailers
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Leading mobile phone retailers, by number of stores, July 2009
                                                                                                                                                                        • Network stores – O2
                                                                                                                                                                          • Network Stores – Vodafone
                                                                                                                                                                            • Network Stores – 3
                                                                                                                                                                              • Network Stores – Meteor
                                                                                                                                                                                • Network Stores – Orange
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Multiple specialists – Carphone Warehouse
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Multiple specialists – 3G Mobile
                                                                                                                                                                                      • Other multiples – An Post
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Other multiples – Xtra-Vision
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Other multiples – Post Office
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Other specialists
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Wholesale distributors
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Buyer Market: End Users

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Business mobile phone users
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 27: Business mobile phone sector* value, NI and RoI, 2004-09
                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Consumer mobile phone users
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 28: Personal mobile phone sector* value, NI and RoI, 2004-09
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 29: The share (%) of the mobile phone sector* value take by consumers, NI and RoI, 2004-09
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Tech-savvy mobile users
                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • NI mobile market
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 30: The mobile sector in NI (€m), 2004-09
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 31: The mobile sector in NI (£m), 2004-09
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 32: The number of mobile connection in NI, 2004-09
                                                                                                                                                                                                        • RoI mobile market
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 33: The mobile sector in RoI (€m), 2004-09
                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 34: The number of mobile connection in RoI, 2004-09

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