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.
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