How many people switch mobile networks in Ireland?

Irish people love a bargain. Saving money by being thrifty adds a few euro to your pocket, and it’s even better if you’ve managed to do it without compromising on the services you’re paying for. One question we at KillBiller are continually asked is  “just how many people switch mobile networks in Ireland?“.

The number is surprisingly high. According to Comreg, the Irish communications regulator, every 3 months in 2014, an average of 104,791 people switched mobile network in Ireland. This means that each day, over 1,100 people switch mobile provider. There are five main mobile networks operating in Ireland – VodafoneThree GroupMeteor/eMobile, Tesco Mobile, and LycaMobile, and there is a fortune to be saved by finding the best value deal for you.

There are 4.9 million active SIM cards in Ireland today*. That’s right, there are more SIM cards than people in Ireland. If we count mobile broadband and machine-to-machine subscriptions, there are 5.76 million SIM cards, a staggering number for an island with an estimated population of 4,609,800 people.

Taking our switching figures into account, about 9% of consumers change mobile phone provider each year. This is a much smaller rate than other services –bonkers.ie estimates that up to 25% of people switch Car Insurance providers per year and 13% of people switch their gas and electricity providers per year. One of the reasons why this number is so low for mobile phone providers is due to the complexity of the various plans on the market – something Billy the Bear is busy simplifying for KillBiller users!

From our research in the area, the main reasons that people change network are:

  1. Bills are too expensive.
  2. Network coverage is poor in their area (have a look at our friends at freq.ie to see coverage information for you).
  3. They want a new phone and so they take a new plan.

In Ireland, we’re lucky. Number portability (the ability to change mobile network without changing your phone number) was introduced in 2001 by Comreg, and the process is relatively pain free. Once your bills are up to date, you can be making calls on a new network within a couple of hours, potentially at a much cheaper rate.

With two new networks entering the mix in 2015 (UPC and Carphone Warehouse), its definitely worth your while comparing mobile offerings, finding the best deal, and putting those euros in your pocket rather than your network providers. Lets get that 9% figure up!

* Figures based on Comreg’s Q3 2014 report