How data is delivering a better connected life.

Eoin MacManus
On: 6 Sep 2018
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Eoin MacManus

Smartphone usage is now ubiquitous in Ireland and our mobiles are now instrumental in almost all aspects of our lives as consumers, workers and citizens.

Ireland’s leading data network, Three, is at the forefront of Ireland’s digital evolution. As the only operator to offer All You Can Eat data, we carry more mobile data on our network than all other operators combined; simply put, data is in our DNA. However, we recognise that it is not the bits and the bytes that matter, it’s how our customers use that data every day to stay connected that really counts.

Last year we commenced a year-long, four-part research project with Amarach Research called the Three Connected Ireland Report, which explores the role smartphones play in our daily lives, how we are behaving as consumers and how we engage with Government. We recently published the third phase of this research and it uncovered some very interesting findings about how smartphones are enriching our lives, consumer mobile shopping habits and our growing appetite for more digital public services.

The Connected Life

It is often suggested that we have become slaves to our smartphones, but when we asked people how they felt about their phones, the findings strongly contradict that assumption.

Smartphones are becoming a life enhancer with over two thirds of respondents (67%) saying their smartphone helps them communicate more with friends and family and 47% saying their smartphone helps their relationships with their kids. Meanwhile, 44% of those surveyed say their smartphone helps them to switch off from work and over half (55%) believe mobile phones support studying and learning new skills, while 32% read books on their mobile.

A year has passed since the new EU roaming regulation came into effect which gives mobile phone customers a ‘roam like at home’ experience, and it’s noteworthy that over a third of respondents (37%) feel that they are now using more mobile data while travelling in the EU. Three’s customers are embracing roaming in the EU even further and are now using a staggering 220% more data when travelling in the EU, compared with this time last year.

The Connected Business

More and more people are using their smartphone to shop and the importance of a mobile-friendly website can’t be underestimated – over one fifth of respondents (21%) use their smartphone to purchase goods or services online two or three times per month, while almost one in ten (9%) shop on their mobile weekly.

When it comes to accessing banking apps, 71% of those polled say they trust that their phone is secure – this rises to 82% among 16-24 year olds and 78% of both 25-34 year olds and 35-44 year olds. This trust clearly carries through when examining how respondents would like to use mobile banking, with 78% of respondents greatly valuing mobile banking.

The Connected Citizen

When we looked at the likelihood of Irish people to interact with public services and Government departments online, it’s clear to see that online interactions are becoming more common than offline. The most popular services being accessed online are car tax services (63% online, compared to 19% offline), revenue online (57% online, compared to 17% offline) and income tax services (46% online, compared to 26% offline). There is a consistent appetite for more digital public services with 73% of respondents believing Government could make better use of mobile phones.

While many people have concerns about data protection, respondents appear to trust public organisations and services more than private companies. The latest research shows that 66% of respondents are concerned about their data when it comes to public services, up from 57% in Q4 2017, compared with 72% expressing concern about their personal data being held by private companies, a significant increase from 61% in Q4 2017.

With the Three Connected Ireland Report, we have a multi-faceted picture of smartphone usage in Ireland and its future potential. This report highlights the ongoing impact of mobile technology across our personal and working lives, integrating seamlessly into our lifestyles. New working patterns are emerging, driven by improvements in digital technology and mobile infrastructure which create opportunities for higher productivity. In the telecommunications industry, as we work to lay the foundations for the continued evolution of mobile technology, it is certainly exciting to think what the future holds for our digital society.

As featured in the Sunday Business Post, 2nd September 2018.

Learn more about how businesses can embrace mobility without compromising security in our infographic: