An Ookla report says Eir is the ‘clear winner’ in 5G availability but Three has the fastest median download speeds.
Cork had the fastest 5G download and upload speeds in Ireland at the end of 2021, according to a new report published today (23 March) by network intelligence company Ookla.
The report analysed 5G speeds in Ireland for the second half of 2021. It found that Cork city had a median 5G download speed of nearly 340Mbps, representing a 14pc year-on-year increase for all operators combined. The city also had a median upload speed of 32.82Mbps.
This was far ahead of other Irish cities, with Dublin reaching a median download speed of nearly 247Mbps, while Galway and Limerick had speeds of around 264Mbps.
“Cork was ahead of the rest of the cities, which partially can be explained by being home to pharmaceutical and IT companies such as Apple, Amazon and IBM,” Ookla said. “Cork also benefited from connectivity with the EXA Express undersea cable.”
The report said that 5G availability across Ireland was 11.7pc during this time. Eir was the “clear winner” compared to other providers, with an availability of 26.6pc. Three Ireland was next at 8.2pc, while Vodafone had 6.4pc.
Last April, Eir said its 5G network was available across more than 900 sites in Ireland, reaching more than half of the population. By October, the telecoms provider claimed it hit a “significant milestone” by making its 5G network available to more than 70pc of people in Ireland across 336 towns and cities. Ookla said Eir increased this number to 430 towns and cities during the last quarter of 2021.
While Three was the last major operator in the country to “jump on the 5G bandwagon” in September 2020, Ookla said it has managed to leap ahead of the competition in terms of 5G speeds.
The report indicates that Three’s 5G network had a median 5G download speed of nearly 239Mbps in the second half of last year, a 20pc increase compared to the same period in 2020. The median download speeds for Eir and Vodafone declined during this period when compared to 2020.
Ookla’s report also noted the rise of private networks in Ireland, as Three partnered with Ericsson and Glanbia last July to install an indoor 5G network to increase the manufacturing efficiency of Glanbia’s cheese plant in Kilkenny.
Vodafone, meanwhile, rolled out a private 5G standalone network in Mullingar last March, utilising Ericsson’s equipment in a partnership with Irish Manufacturing Research.
“These demonstrations of 5G capabilities in the manufacturing context are important to showcase the value digital transformation can bring to the sector by deploying private networks and creating bespoke use cases that enable greater latency and security,” Ookla said.
When compared to other EU countries, Ireland’s median 5G download speeds were ahead of Germany and the Netherlands, coming in at 162.46Mbps. France topped the list at 190.17Mbps, followed by Switzerland and the UK.
Ireland recently launched the ambitious National Digital Strategy, which includes the goal of having all populated areas covered by 5G by 2030 and having all Irish households and businesses covered by a gigabit network no later than 2028.
Earlier this week, researchers at Trinity College Dublin and Connect were awarded a 5G test licence by ComReg to experiment on the next generation of communication networks.
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