David Cooper, chief information officer with 3 Ireland and UK, talks about the company’s impact in the Irish market so far and its plans for the future.
3 has been up and running in Ireland since August but mainly works on a bill postpay basis. Do you have any plans to enter the prepay market?
In the UK we operate on both a prepay and postpay basis and eventually we will go into that market in Ireland but I can’t say when. It is a matter of putting the right pieces in place. Prepay is such a different sector to postpay insofar as you need to put in place a retail distributor network and develop the infrastructure to wrap around it. We have the capabilities and we are developing the market. Going into prepay is really just a question of time. When it looks feasible we will ramp it up.
Can you assess the impact 3 has had on the Irish mobile market?
Even if we didn’t sell a single handset it is clear that since Hutchison-Whampao went live in the Irish market prices dropped. That was on the threat that Hutchison presented. If anything that’s what the Commission for Communications Regulation wanted to see happen in the market.
Your role as CIO of 3 in Ireland and the UK suggests you are also involved in innovation and the creation of new products and services. What items are currently on your agenda?
We are looking at new platforms such as high-speed downlink packet access and will be trialling it in the UK and then in Ireland. In the UK we have brought out a product that enables people to use their phone as a modem for their laptop and get data speeds of 384Kbps. Much of what we want to do is not limited by the network but rather by the limits of the phones themselves. Coming soon will be new services such as ringback tones. At the moment we are focused on getting them working and ironing out technical complexities.
By John Kennedy