ComReg report ‘decoded’ by analyst

ComReg report ‘decoded’ by analyst
by Cian Ginty

The former chairman of IrelandOffline has criticised ComReg’s latest report on the Irish communications market.

Damien Mulley, former chairman of recently disbanded broadband lobby group IrelandOffline, has issued an analysis of the telecoms regulator’s newly published report, ‘Irish Communications Market: Quarterly Key Data’, that he claims helps to “decode” the data “from a different perspective than ComReg”.

Highlighted in Mulley’s analysis are Ireland’s high mobile phone costs and criticism of both the regulator’s inclusion of mobile internet users in the total number of broadband subscribers and its omission of line rental costs in landline bill comparisons.

Irish-based mobile operators’ average revenue per user is estimated at EUR44.07, while the EU average is just EUR29.40, Mulley points out. “[The] French talk more than [the] Irish yet pay almost EUR10 less per month,” he says.

ComReg’s inclusion of mobile broadband user numbers under the stats for broadband connections is “too early” due to current speeds and other connection problems, continues the former IrelandOffline chairman. “While mobile broadband growth has been nothing short of fantastic, it appears the networks have been having problems with the unforeseen demand,” he says. “The market is too unsettled with massive ongoing problems with some networks and hundreds if not thousands of customers having severe connectivity issues.”

Mulley also criticises the report’s bundling of the number of satellite and fibre subscribers together into a single number. Describing satellite internet as “inferior” and a “last straw ‘broadband’ solution” with a high install cost, he says the report hides the low numbers of fibre connections.

Mulley also has a problem with ComReg’s continuing exclusion of line rental charges when analysing Ireland’s landline bill costs. On this, he says “Line rental once again [is] distinctly missing from fixed-line comparisons, making Ireland look much better than what the average Irish phone bill actually reflects.”

The EU average line rental was last reported at EUR15.10, while Ireland, now with the highest line rental costs, is EUR10.20 above this. “Why does ComReg leave out line rental when it contributes to the highest static cost in an Irish phone bill?” asks Mulley.

The ComReg report is available from the regulator’s website.

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