Long suffering mobile operator Meteor can finally claim it has achieved total nationwide coverage, beating a long running perception battle, following a deal with competing mobile operator O2.
Last year, siliconrepublic.com reported that Meteor was seeking agreements with the country’s largest mobile providers, O2 and Vodafone, in order to ensure that Meteor users could enjoy mobile coverage in counties like Donegal, Leitrim and Roscommon where the low population counts meant that it did not make commercial sense for Meteor to install infrastructure in those places.
The company had already achieved 90pc coverage of the country with its own network infrastructure, but the remaining 10pc was a problem in terms of potential customers’ perception of the service.
This afternoon Meteor revealed that it has signed a national roaming agreement with O2 to offer customers national coverage in advance of the completion of its own roll-out.
Under the terms of the agreement, O2 will prove Meteor with national roaming services in specific areas of the country where Meteor does not have full network coverage as yet, including counties Kerry, Donegal, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim, parts of counties Limerick, Galway and Cork and parts of Roscommon, Longford and Clare.
The agreement will run for 30 months from 1 September with coverage services being introduced gradually. There will be no additional charge to Meteor’s customers for availing of national coverage and the service will be available on both 2G and 2.5G networks, covering voice, SMS and GPRS services including multimedia and photo messaging.
Meteor chief executive Stewart Sherriff said: “This is a commercial deal that makes sense for both Meteor and O2, but of more importance is the way it will benefit all mobile phone users because we will now have a playing pitch that is a lot more level.
“We have been aggressively building out our own network and we will continue to do so, but this agreement gives us coverage throughout the country well ahead of schedule. This means that competition will become a lot keener throughout the market because we will now be competing on a more equal footing and without the coverage issues that we have faced while we have been building our own network,” said Sherriff.
O2 Ireland boss Danuta Gray reiterated the nature of the deal: “This agreement is a commercial arrangement between O2 and Meteor that will deliver clear commercial benefits to O2.
“A number of safeguards to ensure that the quality of service to O2 customers remains unaffected have been incorporated into the agreement. O2 Ireland continues to invest in our network infrastructure and this agreement, which is limited geographically, ensures that O2 customers will continue to enjoy the same high standards of network quality that they have enjoyed to date,” said Gray.
By John Kennedy