Eircom to launch first 4G services in Ireland tomorrow

25 Sep 2013

Pictured: Eircom CEO Herb Hribar

Telecoms operator Eircom has confirmed it is launching 4G mobile services in Ireland tomorrow (Thursday 26 September). The company said 4G will initially be available for 30pc of the population, rising to 40pc by Christmas and 90pc within three years.

Eircom told Siliconrepublic.com that users can expect peak speeds of between 20 and 25Mbps. During technical trials the operator clocked speeds of more than 60Mbps.

The 4G rollout is being underpinned by a €330m investment over five years.

The service is now live in Dublin, Carlow and Athlone and will serve 1.2m users.

Over the coming weeks the rollout will continue to include Cork, Galway and Limerick.

“Using recently acquired 4G spectrum, we have fast tracked our network investment to ensure that we are the first provider to offer customers this significantly improved mobile broadband experience, underlying our commitment to the country to provide top-class telecommunications infrastructure and our commitment to customers to provide a quality service that offers real value,” said Eircom CEO Herb Hribar.

By the end of September some 43pc of the population will have a 4G service.

The managing director of Eircom’s consumer division Kevin White said that customers of Meteor and E-Mobile who have 4G-enabled smartphones will be automatically entitled to a new SIM.

Eircom will initially offer two 4G bundles, including a fixed, unlimited mobile and voice bundle for €60 per month and a standalone unlimited mobile service for €30 per month.

“The new 4G service will cover 80pc of the population of Dublin, prediminatnly those who live within the M50 area. We expect more than 50pc of the population will have access to our 4G network by June 2014.”

White said that the new network will have an average throughput of between 10 and 15Mbps.

He added that the unlimited plans that will come with the service at launch will come to an end on 1 March next year and a €49 plan will have a cap of 3GB and a €59 plan will have a 6GB plan.

Elaine Robinson, director of Next Generation Voice & Data at Eircom, said that the 4G network in Dublin makes use of Eircom’s 1800MHz licensed spectrum while the service in areas like Athlone makes use of the 800MHz licensed spectrum that Eircom obtained from ComReg last November.

She said the base stations and systems employed by Eircom are a combination of Ericsson and Huawei technology.

“Tomorrow we will be the first operator in Ireland serving 4G to the country. We will start with coverage of 30pc of the population, rising to 40pc by Chriastmas, 50pc next summer and 90pc within three years,” Robinson said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years