A look back at comms in 2010

29 Dec 2010

A digest of some of the top comms stories of 2010.


New Eircom board announced – Telecoms operator Eircom announced the new membership of its board. The announcement comes following the successful completion of the acquisition of Eircom’s Australian-based parent, Eircom Holdings Limited (ERC), by Singapore Technologies Telemedia (ST Telemedia) and Eircom ESOP Trustee Limited (ESOT).

‘Irish lagging 3-5 years behind in NGN’ – Forfás – While Ireland has made a lot of progress in terms of broadband availability and uptake in the past few years, it is still behind EU competitor countries in both its NGN rollout and number of broadband subscribers, says a report published by Forfás.

Apple tablet unveiled: named iPad – Amid frenzied excitement, the Apple event in San Francsico kicks off and the tablet device is revealed as the iPad, a handheld computing device that works with the iTunes Store built in much like the iPhone.

Irish give €5m online to help victims of Haiti disaster – The level of online charity donations soared as Irish people made donations to help victims of the Haitian earthquake.


Eircom began a major restructure and technology shift and revealed plans to embrace a more open approach to wholesale broadband opportunities as well as fibre enable its mobile base stations, its new owners have confirmed.

Google shipping 60,000 Android-based devices a day – At the GSM Association Mobile World Congress, Google CEO Eric Schmidt revealed Google was at that point shipping more than 60,000 Android devices per day.

Haiti names Denis O’Brien goodwill ambassador – Irish telecoms entrepreneur Denis O’Brien, whose company Digicel is a major mobile operator in the Caribbean and Central America, was named goodwill ambassador for the city of Port-au-Prince in earthquake-hit Haiti.


BT begins NGN Etherflow rollout in Ireland – BT commenced the latest chapter in its 21st Century Network (21CN) rollout with the deployment of Etherflow fibre/radio access points across Ireland.

Consumers spend more time on internet, less time on phone – A consumer spending survey by Ireland’s telecoms regulator ComReg confirmed what traditional telcos fear the most – consumers are spending more time online and less time on their fixed or mobile devices.

46pc of Irish don’t trust data protection legislation: survey – Legislation surrounding data breaches and disclosure is not reassuring Irish internet users, the Irish Computer Society revealed in a survey at the Annual Data Protection Conference 2010.


More than 300,000 iPads sold on first day – The iPad came, it was seen and it conquered. On sale for less than 24 hours in the US, the iPad shifted more than 300,000 units, as Apple announced the numbers sold

Kilkenny mayor apologises for Facebook faux pas – Kilkenny Mayor Malcolm Noonan issued a public apology on his Facebook page following a ‘knobhead’ comment he made in reference to council’s decision to shelve part of the one-way system.

Bandwidth will be the key to economic recovery, ComReg says – ‘Super connected’ digital consumers who want the broadest array of choices in terms of broadband and handsets are key to the economic recovery in Ireland, ComReg said as it unveiled its strategic vision for 2010 to 2012.

Ireland requires €2.5bn investment for next-generation broadband – A €2.5bn capital investment will be necessary to invest in the roll out of next-generation broadband access which will in turn provide Ireland with the economic stimulus it needs, the telecoms industry led by TIF revealed.


3 to trial 42Mbps broadband this year – on road to LTE – 3 Ireland unveiled Europe’s first deployment of i-HSPA mobile broadband network technology which will pave the way for an eventual move to LTE in the next 18 months, the company said.

BT makes £57m sterling annual saving through flexible working – Global telecoms giant BT is saving on average £57m sterling a year by enabling 10pc of its 100,000-strong workforce to work flexibly or remotely, its chief sustainability officer Chris Tuppen told delegates at a Business & Leadership briefing on the Green Economy.

Magnet to start trialling 200Mbps fibre broadband – Magnet Networks revealed plans to commence trials of 200Mbps fibre broadband in the areas where it has fibre, the chief executive of the company, Mark Kellett, told Siliconrepublic.

YouTube hits 2 billion views per day – Google-owned video player site YouTube revealed its daily traffic for the first time exceeds more than 2 billion views a day – that’s nearly double the prime-time audience of all major US TV networks combined, the company said.


UPC to extend reach of digital TV via BT Ethernet rings – Ethernet network across Ireland will prove instrumental in enabling cable provider UPC to expand its reach to six large regional towns.

3 Ireland hits 500,000-customer milestone – Mobile network 3 hit the milestone of more than 500,000 customers subscribing to its voice and data services, of which more than 200,000 are mobile broadband users.


Ireland’s Government reveals its social media strategy – The Irish Government’s Information Service built a whole new social networking-led internet platform based on WordPress, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter called MerrionStreet.ie that will see political leaders, including the Taoiseach, ‘tweet’ to the nation.

Did Apple know about glitch before iPhone 4 hit market? – Speculation is rife that one of Apple’s senior engineers warned CEO Steve Jobs and management before the device hit the market.

Nokia Siemens buys Motorola networks division for US$1.2bn – Nokia Siemens Networks entered into an agreement to acquire the majority of Motorola’s wireless network infrastructure business for US$1.2bn in cash.

WiMax provider Imagine acquires Clearwire in Ireland – Sean Bolger’s fast-growing Imagine has acquired Clearwire’s Irish operations for an undisclosed sum. Imagine is engaged in a €100m national rollout of WiMax supported by Intel and Motorola.

iPhone use surges 85pc in Ireland – There was an 85pc surge in traffic from iPhone handsets in the second quarter of 2010, according to statistics from Digital Reach Group.


4G LTE investments surge ahead, but mass usage doubtful – An increasing number of mobile network operators are rolling out 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) investments in mobile. Yet by 2015, a mere one in 20 users will benefit from these new high-speed networks.

Ryanair and MaxRoam deal to slash roaming by 70pc – Passengers on Ryanair will now be able to reduce their mobile phone roaming charges by up to 70pc as a result of a new partnership deal the airline has struck with Maxroam.


Nokia appoints senior Microsoft executive to be its CEO – Mobile giant Nokia poached the head of Microsoft’s Business Division Stephen Elop to become its CEO. Elop is a seasoned technology executive who has held senior roles in Juniper Networks, Adobe and Macromedia.

Irish mobile app attracts 250,000 users – Irish company SafeBox now has 250,000 users following the launch of its innovative mobile application, which prevents sensitive text messages from being read by anyone but the mobile phone owner.

RIM reveals its iPad killer – say hello to the PlayBook  – Research in Motion has taken the wraps off its new tablet computer device, the BlackBerry PlayBook, which will take on Apple’s iPad. The new device comes with video conferencing capabilities, multi-tasking and is being described by RIM as the fastest tablet yet.

Telecoms’ green future – The global telecoms industry has a responsibility in tackling climate change and building a better world, said Ben Verwaayen, the CEO of €15bn-a-year Alcatel-Lucent in an exclusive interview with Siliconrepublic.


A “new direction” for Microsoft with Windows Phone 7 – Microsoft launched the Windows Phone 7 platform at a conference, showing off its rival to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

More than 1m Irish people have never used the internet, says Kroes – The EU will not be writing blank cheques to help Governments meet the targets of the Digital Agenda plan for half of Europe to have 100Mbps, Commissioner Neelie Kroes said. But it will help regions willing to help themselves.

CEO of O2 Ireland steps down – Telefonica O2 Ireland’s CEO Danuta Gray has announced she will step down from this role, effective from the end of November. She will be replaced by Stephen Shurrock, consumer sales director of O2 UK.

Internet population to grow to 2 billion – The number of users of the internet will surpass 2 billion this year, said a United Nations agency. However, the agency also said that developing nations need to improve access to further economic growth.

Wi-Fi operator Bitbuzz reports 100,000 monthly logins – Wi-Fi network operator Bitbuzz revealed that for the first time it has recorded more than 100,000 monthly logins during September.

Android rockets past 100,000 mobile apps – Google’s Android developer team has revealed there are now more than 100,000 applications available in the Android Marketplace. However, it has some distance to go to catch up with Apple’s Apps Store, which has close to 300,000 apps.

ESB Telecoms building mobile backhaul network – Transmode, supplier of optical networking solutions, announced that Electricity Supply Board (ESB) Telecoms is building a mobile backhaul wholesale network throughout Ireland


Meet RockMelt – new browser could define social age

Netscape founder Marc Andreesen has emerged as one of the investors behind a new web browser that may define the social age. RockMelt aims to do three things: move through web pages, keep up with friends and search.

Irish tech firm brings broadband to sub-Saharan Africa – Azotel Technologies and Multisource announced at the AfricaCom 2010 event that the two companies have signed an agreement whereby Multisource will distribute Azotel products.

US telecom giants to build gigantic ‘mobile wallet’ network – Three of the largest telecoms operators in the US – AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile – have created a new mobile payments venture called Isis which will combine smartphones with near field communication (NFC) technology.

Apple co-founder believes Android will surpass iOS – Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak caused a kerfuffle when he said Android will become the most dominant mobile operating system, surpassing iOS.

O2 creating ‘mobile wallet’ system for buying digital content – Telefonica O2 said is to leverage its billing engine to enable mobile users to use their devices to pay for products and services and, in particular, digital content like music, videos and newspapers on the go.

One-fifth of Irish adult population owns smartphones – More than 600,000 consumers in Ireland own smartphones, which amounts to one-fifth of the adult population, according to mobile and digital agency Return2Sender.

IEDR creates €100k fund to boost SME e-commerce – While 66pc of Irish businesses have a web presence, a shockingly low 21pc of these have e-commerce functionality. This is up just 3pc since 2000. To counter this and inspire activity, the .ie Domain Registry created a €100,000 fund.

Rocket man’s broadband firm on FTSE 100 trajectory – A businessman whose previous venture capital company delivered a 768pc return for investors could turn out to be the unlikely saviour of broadband in the Northern Hemisphere as his stg£120m HYLAS 1 satellite was set to rocket into space.

Backlash prompts former beauty queen to close Twitter account – Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado closed her Twitter account after backlash arose when she confused the Koreas with China in a tweet.


Severe weather hits broadband and phone services – Eircom said the severe weather continued to affect broadband and phone services and that fault counts in the worst-affected areas on the East Coast of Ireland had risen to 4,600, with an additional 1,100 reported in an afternoon.

Voice revenues continue to decline in Ireland – Telecoms revenues in the Irish market increased 1.8pc in the third quarter to reach €968m, according to the latest ComReg quarterly report. However, on an annual basis, revenues are down almost 3pc.

Eircom plans mobile apps for new MusicHub – Eircom told Siliconrepublic it is planning to produce iPhone, Android and Windows Phone 7 app versions of its new 4.5m song MusicHub in 2011 in a move that will see it battle players like Spotify and Last.fm in the digital music market.

UPC to launch 20Mbps broadband for €34 per month – Cable player UPC has revealed it will launch a new 20Mbps broadband product that will cost €34 per month and which will be available to four out of every 10 homes in Ireland.

Ireland nears European broadband average – Eurostat – Ireland succeeded in moving from a disastrous situation where it was just under half the European average in 2006 to being just three points below the 2010 EU average for broadband connections.

Irish firms won’t recover without e-commerce, warns Google – Irish businesses are seriously behind the curve compared with their UK and European counterparts in terms of capturing revenue earning potential from the internet, a senior Google executive warned.

EC keen to cut off roaming charges – European Commission (EC) believes that mobile roaming charges within the European Union are still too high, there is a lack of competition, and would eventually like to see the charges abolished.

99pc broadband coverage for all of Ireland – minister  – Communications Minister Eamon Ryan announced the successful delivery of the €233m National Broadband Scheme by 3 Ireland, bringing a broadband service to 1,028 areas across rural Ireland.

More than 300,000 Android phones activated per day – More than 300,000 Android phones are being activated each day, revealed Andy Rubin, VP of engineering at Google and overseer of Android development.

Eircom to cut illegal downloaders’ broadband for up to 12 months – Ireland’s incumbent telecoms operator Eircom said today it is implementing a protocol that would suspend and ultimately disconnect the broadband service of users who repeatedly infringe copyright. Those users face being cut off for up to a year.