Ireland - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses
Ireland’s telecom regulator updates radio spectrum strategy to 2018
Ireland’s telecom market has recently emerged from a long period in which it had been held back by poor broadband uptake, underinvestment, and mismanagement among some of the key operators. Eir perhaps suffered most from the recent financial crisis, though the government’s indebtedness also obliged it to rein in investment in infrastructure. However, although there is a continuing downward trend for overall telecom revenue, there was an encouraging 1.4% increase in revenue in the fourth quarter of 2015, year-on-year.
The main operators, including the incumbent eir as well as Vodafone Ireland and Virgin Media Ireland, are pressing ahead with renewed, and significant, investment programs geared to improving broadband infrastructure and to providing 1Gb/s services. In addition, the National Broadband Scheme will ensure the delivery of a 30Mb/s service nationally by 2022. This will greatly boost the adoption of OTT videostreaming services, as well as encourage services including e-government, e-health and e-learning.
For many years Ireland’s broadband market was underdeveloped by European standards, although government efforts to improve local loop unbundling and wholesale access has meant that growth, albeit from a relatively low base, has been strong in recent years. Separate efforts undertaken by eir, Virgin Media Ireland and Vodafone Ireland, 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.
Ireland’s mobile market has undergone considerable changes in recent years, particularly after 3 Ireland acquired O2 and so secured a 36% market share, behind only Vodafone at 38%. Despite this consolidation, the market enjoys effective competition between three main players as well as a small number of MVNOs. Eir returned to the mobile sector with its Meteor division, although it also operates an MVNO, eMobile, hosted by Meteor. Mobile broadband, on the back of expanding HSPA and LTE networks, has become very popular among consumers since the introduction of flat-rate data plans, and LTE forms an integral part of the government’s national broadband strategy. The regulator has revised its strategy to manage spectrum through to 2018, so improving the provision of mobile broadband services.
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 also profiles the fixed and wireless broadband markets, together with developments in related technologies such as FttP, powerline broadband, wireless and mobile broadband, including forecasts for broadband uptake to 2021. In addition the report provides statistics and analyses on the mobile market, including regulatory issues, a snapshot of the consumer market, emerging technologies, and the growth of mobile data services.
Government expected to sign contracts for the National Broadband Network build by June 2017;
Emerald Networks secures loan approval for 100Gb/s cable linking Ireland to Iceland and the US;
Eir obliged to open fibre networks to altnets;
Eir reports continuing falling revenue into fiscal 2016;
Vodafone launches 1Gb/s IP service;
Virgin Media Ireland increases broadband speed to 360Mb/s;
Eir delivering 100Mb/s services to over a million premises;
Recovery in the number of Wi-Fi hotspots and access points;Regulator rules that eir make fibre networks available to altnets;
Vodafone Ireland becomes a quad-play provider with its IPTV launch;
Virgin Media Ireland discontinues its MMDS service;
Regulator revises strategy to manage radio spectrum to 2018;
3 Ireland invests €300 million to provide 225Mb/s ‘4G Plus’ service nationally;
3 Ireland extends Nokia vendor relationship with a five-year managed services contract;
Vodafone Ireland completes national LTE network upgrade project;
SMS traffic shows continuing decline;
Mobile broadband subscriber base falls;
Mobile retail revenue and ARPU continue to fall;
Report updates includes the regulator’s market data to Q4 2015, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q1 2016, recent market developments
Companies mentioned in this report:
BT Ireland, eir (Eircom), Smart Telecom, Tele2, Virgin Media Ireland (formerly UPC Ireland), Casey CableVision, Digiweb, Vodafone Ireland, O2, Meteor, eMobile; Tesco Mobile
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