There are now as many mobile phones in Ireland as people, figures published by the communications regulator reveal.

ComReg's Quarterly Key Data report for the three months to the end of September says mobile phone ownership reached 100% for the first time in September, with some 4.05 million subscribers nationally.

A previous survey suggested that as many as 7% of users have more than one active mobile phone.

Luxembourg has the highest mobile penetration rate, at 156%, while France lags in last place at 75%.

Irish, Spanish, Finnish, the Netherlands and Austrian mobile phone penetration rates all hover at around 100%.

The spend by Irish users on their monthly phone bills is second highest only to Switzerland among the major European markets, the ComReg figures reveal.

Irish mobile users spend an average of €47.37 a month on their phone service, while users in Switzerland spend marginally more at €48.03. Norway is third on the list with an average monthly spend of €38.82.

Overall, revenue in the mobile phone sector in the third quarter was €1.01 billion, or almost €4 billion on an annual basis.

Some 6.1 million multimedia messages were sent by Irish mobile users in the last quarter alone.

Just over three quarters of mobile users in Ireland use pre-paid services. A total of 24% have monthly billed services.

Meteor has gradually increased its share of revenue in recent quarters and now boasts 11.5% of the market, ComReg said.

Vodafone is still the biggest operator, with a 49.7% share, while rival O2 has 38.8% of the market.

There were 208,500 broadband subscribers in Ireland as at the end of September, with DSL remaining the predominant technology platform for broadband access.

Non-DSL broadband services through wireless, cable or satellite account 21% of broadband subscriptions.

On the fixed line front, Eircom retains around 79% of the market.

ComReg said that 390,000 mobile users have switched operator while retaining their mobile number since the launch of mobile number portability by ComReg in June 2003.