Ireland - Telecoms, IP Networks and Digital Media

Ireland - Telecoms, IP Networks and Digital Media

Investments in Ireland see improved broadband infrastructure

Ireland’s telecom market for long suffered from poor broadband uptake, underinvestment and mismanagement among some of the key operators. Eircom perhaps suffered most from the financial crisis which hit the country in 2008 and continues to reverberate. The financial difficulties of customers repressed company revenue and curtailed investment plans. On a larger scale, the government’s indebtedness obliged it to rein in investment in infrastructure. Although telecom sector revenue showed some recovery in 2014, the country’s economic woes, and the reluctance of consumers to spend on other than essential services, will restrain growth for the next few years at least.

Nevertheless, operators are showing some determination to invest in infrastructure upgrades and so provide improved services to attract and retain customers. This is particularly true in the broadband market, which for many years was underdeveloped by European standards. Regulatory efforts to improve local loop unbundling and wholesale access has contributed to market competition, while separate efforts undertaken by Eircom, UPC Ireland and Vodafone/ESB, as well as a small number of small-scale fibre operators, has resulted in a rejuvenated broadband sector where average download speeds are now among the highest in Europe. The National Broadband Plan, underpinned by government investment of about €500 million, will see services extended to some 900,000 premises considered uncommercial by market players.

The mobile market underwent a considerable shift in 2014 when 3 Ireland acquired O2, and so secured a 36% market share, behind only Vodafone at 38%. Eircom’s mobile service offers effective competition, while there is a lively and growing MVNO market. Mobile broadband, on the back of expanding HSPA and LTE networks, has become very popular among consumers while the regulator has also set aside spectrum in several bands for use by mobile services.

The market for converged media and applications in Ireland has advanced with improved poor broadband infrastructure, particularly from UPC Ireland and Eircom.

This report provides statistics and analysis on the key sectors of the Irish telecom market, presenting an overview of the regulatory environment, fixed network operators and services, and telecom infrastructure. It reviews mobile platforms, assesses key regulatory issues, and presents a snapshot of the consumer market, emerging technologies, and the growth of mobile data services. The report also notes the status of digital TV via terrestrial, cable and satellite platforms, and profiles the fixed and wireless broadband markets, together with developments in related technologies such as FttP, powerline broadband, wireless and mobile broadband, WiFi and internet via satellite. It also provides forecasts for broadband uptake to 2020.

Key developments:

  • Government promotes NewEra National Recovery Program requiring 90% FttC connectivity;
  • Eircom reports continuing falling revenue into fiscal 2015;
  • Vodafone Ireland supporting Ryanair’s M2M requirements;
  • Eircom signs five-year vendor contract with Ericsson;
  • Hutchison Whampoa completes acquisition of O2 Ireland for €780 million;
  • Eircom launches eVision on Demand service;
  • National Broadband Plan expected to go to tender by end-2015;
  • Eircom delivers 100Mb/s services to over a million premises;
  • Vodafone and ESB connect premises for their 1Gb/s fibre trials;
  • Regulator’s market data to Q4 2014;
  • Telcos’ operating and financial data to Q4 2014;
  • Recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report include:BT Ireland, Eircom, Smart Telecom, Tele2, Vodafone Ireland, O2, Meteor, 3 Ireland; Eircom Mobile; Tesco Mobile, UPC Ireland, Magnet Networks, Eircom, Casey Cablevisión, UPC Ireland, Digiweb.


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics - 2014 (e)
    • Table Telecom revenue and investment statistics - 2014
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2014
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2014
    • Table Broadband statistics - 2014
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2014
    • Table National telecommunications authority
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • OVERVIEW OF IRELAND'S TELECOM MARKET
      • Table Market revenue annual change by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors - 2010 - 2014
      • Table Market revenue by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors - 2010 - 2015
      • Table Market revenue share by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors - 2002 - 2014
      • Table Market revenue share by retail fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors - 2012 - 2014
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • HISTORY
    • REVISED NFR
    • REGULATORY AUTHORITY
      • Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg)
    • TELECOM SECTOR LIBERALISATION IN IRELAND
      • Privatisation of Eircom
      • Interconnect
      • Access
        • Table Unbundled loops and access lines - 2005 - 2014
      • Fibre access
    • NUMBER PORTABILITY (NP)
      • Table Annual ported fixed-line numbers - 2010 - 2014
    • CARRIER PRESELECTION (CPS)
      • Table Indirect access lines: CPS and WLR - 2006 - 2014
  • FIXED NETWORK OPERATORS
    • OVERVIEW
      • Table Fixed-line and mobile voice traffic in minutes - 2008 - 2014
    • OPERATOR MARKET SHARES
      • Table Proportion of fixed-line revenue by service - 2004 - 2013
      • Table Fixed-line share of retail revenue by operator - 2012 - 2014
    • EIRCOM
      • Going into 2015
        • Table Eircom financial data (historic) - 2001 - 2007
        • Table Eircom financial data (year to June) - 2009 - 2015
        • Table Eircom revenue by sector (year to June) - 2009 - 2015
        • Table Eircom subscribers by sector - 2010 - 2014
      • Company restructure
      • Managing debt
    • BT IRELAND
      • Table BT Ireland broadband subscribers (historic) - 2006 - 2009
      • Table BT Ireland revenue - 2008 - 2013
    • SMART TELECOM
      • Table Smart Telecom financial data (historic) - 2003 - 2005
    • TELE2
    • OTHER OPERATORS
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • NATIONAL TELECOM NETWORK
      • Table Historic - Fixed voice subscriptions in service and teledensity - 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2004
      • Table Fixed voice subscriptions and teledensity - 2004 - 2015
    • STRUCTURAL SEPARATION ISSUES
    • NEXT GENERATION NETWORKS (NGNS)
    • INTERNATIONAL
      • Submarine cable networks
      • Satellite networks
  • BROADBAND MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
      • Broadband statistics
        • Table Broadband penetration by technology - 2006 - 2014
        • Table Dial-up internet subscribers - 2005 - 2015
        • Table Total internet subscribers - 2005 - 2015
        • Table Total broadband subscribers by access type - 2002 - 2014
        • Table Total broadband penetration - 2003 - 2015
        • Table Share of broadband subscribers by platform - 2007 - 2014
        • Table Market share of fixed broadband subscriptions by operator - 2010 - 2014
        • Table Residential market share of broadband access speed - 2012 - 2014
      • National Development Plan
      • Promoting broadband
      • Government networks
      • Other providers
      • Regional infrastructure
      • Wholesale bitstream
      • eHealth
    • CABLE MODEMS
      • Table UPC Ireland subscribers - 2006 - 2014
      • Table UPC Ireland revenue - 2006 - 2009; 2013-14
    • ASYMMETRICAL DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (ADSL)
      • Table DSL access provision by type and operator - 2002 - 2014
      • Table Eircom retail broadband subscribers - 2010 - 2014
      • Alternative operators
      • ADSL2+
      • VDSL
        • Table VDSL connections - 2013 - 2014
      • Vectoring DSL
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-PREMISE (FTTP) NETWORKS
      • Eircom
      • BT Ireland
      • Vodafone/ Electricity Supply Board (ESB)
      • Sky
      • Other developments
    • BROADBAND POWERLINE (BPL)
    • MOBILE BROADBAND
      • Table Mobile broadband subscribers - 2007 - 2015
      • Table Mobile broadband market share by operator - 2010 - 2014
      • Table Mobile broadband market share by operator - 2010 - 2013
    • WIRELESS BROADBAND
      • Table Wireless broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2014
      • 1.7GHz band
      • 10.5GHz band
      • 3.5GHz band
      • Other spectrum
      • Digiweb
      • National Fixed Wireless Point to Multipoint Licences (FWPMA)
      • Other developments
      • Other bands
      • WiFi
        • Table Wireless hotspots and access points - 2014
      • Worldwide Interoperability of Microwave Access (WiMAX)
      • WiFibre
      • Internet via satellite
    • FORECASTS - BROADBAND SUBSCRIBERS - 2013; 2015; 2020
      • higher broadband subscriber growth
        • Table Forecast fixed-line broadband subscribers - higher market growth scenario - 2013; 2015; 2020
      • lower broadband subscriber growth
        • Table Forecast fixed-line broadband subscribers - lower market growth scenario - 2013; 2015; 2020
    • NOTES ON SCENARIO FORECASTS
  • DIGITAL MEDIA
    • OVERVIEW DIGITAL MEDIA
    • KEY GENERAL TRENDS
    • BUSINESS MODELS
      • Bundled services
        • Table Proportion of bundled services, by type - 2011 - 2014
      • Smart Telecom
      • Magnet Networks
      • UPC Ireland
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • VoIP
      • Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Systems (MMDS)
    • DIGITAL TV
      • Overview and statistics
        • Table Statistical overview of Ireland's broadcasting market - 2008 - 2014
        • Table Proportion of homes by reception method - 2008 - 2014
        • Table Proportion of pay TV and FTA households - 2003 - 2014
        • Table Proportion of digital and analogue households - 2007 - 2014
      • Broadband TV (IPTV)
      • Cable TV
        • Table Cable TV subscribers and penetration rate - 2000 - 2011; 2015
        • Table UPC Ireland subscribers - 2006 - 2014
        • Table UPC Ireland revenue - 2006 - 2009; 2013-14
      • Satellite TV
        • Table Historic - Satellite TV antennae and home penetration - 1992 - 2004
        • Table Satellite TV antennae and home penetration - 2005 - 2011; 2015
        • Table Sky satellite TV subscribers (historic) - 2003 - 2008
      • Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
      • Video-on-Demand (VoD)
      • VoIP
      • Digital cinema
      • Interactive TV (iTV)
  • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
    • OVERVIEW OF IRELAND'S MOBILE MARKET
      • Table Operator blended ARPU - 2005 - 2013
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • General statistics
        • Table Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2004
        • Table Mobile subscribers (inc. Mobile broadband, M2M) and penetration rate - 2005 - 2015
        • Table Mobile subscribers (not incl. mobile broadband, M2M) - 2011 - 2014
        • Table Mobile market revenue, voice and data - 2005 - 2014
      • Operator market shares
        • Table Mobile share of subscribers by operator - 2005 - 2014
        • Table Mobile share of revenue by operator - 2005 - 2014
      • Mobile voice services
        • Table Mobile voice minutes - 2005 - 2014
        • Table Prepaid versus postpaid share of subscribers - 2000 - 2014
        • Table Proportion of prepaid subscribers by operator - 2008 - 2013
      • Mobile data services
        • Table Mobile data as proportion of total revenue - 2006 - 2014
        • Table Data use per subscriber - 2011 - 2014
        • Table SMS messages sent - 2000 - 2014
        • Table SMS and MMS messages sent per subscriber - 2011 - 2014
        • Table SMS and MMS revenue - 2012 - 2013
        • Table MMS messages sent - 2005 - 2014
    • FORECASTSMOBILE ARPU AND MOBILE UMTS SUBSCRIBERS
      • Forecasts - mobile ARPU - 2009 - 2010; 2015
        • Table Forecast mobile ARPU - 2005 - 2015
      • Forecasts - UMTS subscribers - 2009 - 2010; 2015
        • Table Forecast UMTS subscribers - 2006 - 2010; 2015
      • Notes on scenario forecasts
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Spectrum regulations and spectrum auctions
        • Table 3G licence results - June 2002
        • Table Multiband frequency award process - 2012
      • Roaming
        • Table European voice roaming charges - 2007 - 2014
        • Table European data roaming charges - 2012 - 2014
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
        • Table Annual mobile numbers ported - 2005 - 2014
      • Mobile termination rates (MTRs)
        • Table MTRs by operator - 2010 - 2013
      • Wideband Digital Mobile Data Services (WDMDS)
        • Table WDMDS licences: operators, spectrum and fees - 2005
      • Network sharing
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Analogue networks
      • Digital networks
        • Table 3G SIM cards in use by type - 2011 - 2014
      • Other infrastructure developments
      • Machine-to-Machine (M2M)
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Vodafone Ireland
        • Table Vodafone mobile subscribers - 2006 - 2014
        • Table Vodafone fixed-line subscribers - 2010 - 2014
        • Table Vodafone service revenue - 2010 - 2014
        • Table Vodafone blended ARPU - 2006 - 2008; 2010 - 2011
      • O2 Ireland
        • Table O2 mobile financial data - 2007 - 2014
        • Table O2 mobile data statistics - 2007 - 2013
        • Table O2 ARPU, blended, prepaid and contract - 2006 - 2013
        • Table O2 subscribers - 2006 - 2014
      • Meteor Mobile
        • Table Meteor Mobile subscribers - 2006 - 2014
        • Table Meteor Mobile services revenue - 2006 - 2010; 2012- 2014
        • Table Meteor Mobile ARPU - 2014
      • 3 Ireland
        • Table 3 Ireland subscribers - 2006 - 2014
        • Table 3 Ireland financial data - 2007 - 2014
        • Table 3 Ireland revenue by sector - 2013 - 2014
      • MVNOs
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
      • Overview
      • Mobile TV

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