Data tapestry of Ireland: 15 telecoms carriers joining the dots

13 Feb 2017

Who are the national infrastructure platform players in Ireland? Image: alphaspirit/Shutterstock

As part of Data Week on, our Data Tapestry series will join together the various sinews connecting the data industry. Today, we list national carrier and infrastructure services.

Data carriers that own and operate vital fibre and wireless infrastructure are integral cogs in Ireland’s data machine.

Throughout the week, we will list other constituents of the data industry, including managed services/cloud players, internet of things (IoT) enablers and global data carriers connecting our shores to the world. This will culminate in a final list on Friday that includes our list of data centres in Ireland.

Today’s list focuses on owners and operators of actual infrastructure that supports the data industry and businesses nationwide, but does not include mobile virtual network operators, regional internet service providers (ISPs) or wireless ISPs, for example.

AirSpeed Telecom

Founded in 2003, AirSpeed Telecom is one of the country’s largest commercial integrated fibre and licensed wireless networking firms, with clients including William Fry and RTÉ.

Based in Dublin, the company underwent major change in 2014 following the purchase of a majority stake by the telecoms and media investor Granahan McCourt, led by Irish-American entrepreneur David McCourt.

The company recently revealed it is offering high capacity, temporary wireless broadband at venues in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Aurora Telecom

Aurora Telecom owns and operates a carrier neutral, open access, dark fibre network with an ultra-high fibre count.

The network links Dublin to Galway, via Athlone and Mullingar, and to Cork City, via Ennis, Shannon and Limerick. The national network also extends into Co Mayo.

Aurora’s Dublin Metropolitan Area Network has one of the most extensive dark fibre network footprints in Dublin.

BT Ireland

A wholly owned subsidiary of BT and a global carrier active in 180 countries, BT Ireland serves multinational corporations, indigenous exporters and public sector organisations, as well as other major communications providers, on a wholesale basis.

With 600 employees in five cities, the company’s portfolio is a combination of cloud services, global networking, IT integration, carrier voice and data services, contact centre solutions and professional security expertise.

Data tapestry of Ireland: 15 telecoms carriers joining the dots

Image: Image: SP-Photo/Shutterstock


The Digiweb offering is broad, offering fixed broadband access, enterprise data networks, data centre services, managed services and telephony to private consumers, businesses and the public sector.

As well as being a wholesale customer of Eir, Digiweb is a retail partner of high-speed broadband scheme Siro, promising a connection of up to 1Gbps in Dundalk, Letterkenny and Drogheda.

Eir/Open Eir

Eir/Open Eir is perhaps the most prominent data provider in the country and, through its mobile arms – Eir Mobile and Meteor – it provides for a significant portion of the Irish market.

The currently is currently deep into plans to deliver fibre to 300,000 homes – a €200m commitment. The company claims that its network currently reaches 95pc of the population, with IoT support established as a recent target, too.


Enet is a wholesale-only carrier that has responsibility for operating the 94 Metropolitan Area Networks around Ireland on behalf of the Government.

This is in addition to a unique dark fibre backhaul infrastructure transiting the rail and gas network, and three proprietary metro networks, including a 100km fibre ring in Dublin.

Enet also operates one of the largest licensed wireless networks in the country.


Headed by telecoms veteran Sean Bolger, Imagine operates a fibre network as well as a fast-growing LTE-based broadband business that is providing 4G services countrywide.

Headquartered in Sandyford in Dublin, Imagine provides fixed and wireless communication services to both business and residential customers. Through its international network, the company provides wholesale services to telecom operators and services providers.

Data tapestry of Ireland: 15 telecoms carriers joining the dots

Image: panumas nikhomkhai/Shutterstock


Magnet dominated the Irish scene in 2016 with a series of significant developments.

Back in March, it signed a seven-figure deal with the national network provider Enet to overhaul its network capacity for better broadband speeds. It then bought the retail broadband division of Imagine. This move added 11,000 SME and corporate customers to Magnet’s portfolio.


Meteor is big on delivering fast, powerful data to its customers, backed up by its recognition as Ireland’s fastest mobile data network at the 2016 Switcher Broadband Awards.

Meteor has the second largest 4G footprint in Ireland, covering 90pc of the population and has launched Eir Mobile with parent company, Eir. This is a mobile virtual network operator, which targets older residents and commercial businesses.

Pure Telecom

Having been in the Irish broadband and cloud game since 2002, Pure Telecom currently employs 100 people in Ireland, and plans to hire 32 more off the back of a €1.8m investment last month.

Following a €20m partnership with Eir last year, the company rolled out its 1Gbps service, with plans to have a customer base of 100,000 by the end of 2019.

Data tapestry of Ireland: 15 telecoms carriers joining the dots

Image: alexskopje/Shutterstock

Sigfox/VT Networks

In early 2016, telecoms provider VT Networks partnered with French company Sigfox to bring Ireland into the future of IoT.

Sigfox is a cellular connectivity provider and its technology was used to deploy the first Irish IoT network last summer.

The co-founder of VT Networks, Mark Bannon, spoke to last year, saying it was only a matter of time before Sigfox modules were installed in smartphones or computer hardware.


Siro is a €450m joint venture between ESB and Vodafone.

The company is using existing ESB infrastructure to bring 1Gbps services to 50 towns around Ireland and around 500,000 premises in 2018.

Siro is reportedly passing 10,000 premises per month and is targeting 200,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2017.

It also has become the first Irish operator to be admitted to the influential FTTH Council.


Three is fully invested in data, and it acquired mobile operator O2 Ireland two years ago.

Offering fixed and mobile data connections to private users and commercial entities, the company is one of Ireland’s most prolific data carriers.

In early 2016, Three announced the roll-out of 4G Plus, which would allow users to access speeds of up to 225Mbps on the move.

Virgin Media

With broadband, mobile and television bundles, Virgin Media carries a huge amount of data.

As well as supporting business customers of all sizes, Virgin is one of the the largest carriers in Europe. Its network supports ISPs and other network operators. Virgin also offers wholesale data with high bandwidth carrier grade services


Vodafone has its fingers in a lot of data pots. Beyond offering mobile and fixed data connections to Irish consumers, the data carrier will also use its networks to support IoT.

Through its Siro partnership with ESB, Vodafone aims to bring high-speed broadband access to rural Ireland.

In November, Vodafone revealed that it is planning to invest €250m in 2017 in a network and IT transformation programme to deliver its plan for the Gigabit Society.