WHAT burns the ears off your friends, burns blisters on your thumbs and burns a giant hole in your pocket?
While it keeps getting smaller, it plays a bigger role in your life.
It is, of course, your ubiquitous pocket pal — the mobile phone.
Figures released by the Commission for Communications Regulation show every month we spend 849 million minutes talking on mobile phones.
An extra 278,000 handsets came into use between January and March and there are now 5.4 million mobile phones in circulation for 4.2 million people.
And, in the first three months of the year, we sent 25 million text messages per day — five messages for every phone in circulation.
The devices also extended their lead ahead of landline varieties. This was first established last year and in early 2008 mobile handsets accounted for 52% of the 5 billion minutes of voice calls made.
Together it means every minute of the day 38,156 people are on the phone.
And at a time when most industries are losing customers Tommy McCabe, director of the Telecommunications and Internet Federation, said the communications industry is thriving.
And he said there is still scope for growth and little fear of saturation.
“It is a very positive report showing good growth in the telecommunications sector. It shows competition is working and prices are coming down.
“There is no indication people are stopping using phones and for the Irish economy it is an area where there is still good growth,” he said.
Annual results for Vodafone and O2, released already, have shown the average monthly mobile phone bill is more than €45.
Mr McCabe also pointed to another trend highlighted by the ComReg figures.
It showed broadband was being used by 991,970 people and its market share grew by 12% between January and March.
Subscriptions for mobile broadband alone grew by 46% in this period.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved