Irish fixed-line market underdeveloped

30 Jun 2008

MADRID – The chief executive of O2 for Europe, Matthew Key, said he believes the Irish fixed-line market is underdeveloped.

At a briefing last week, Key said broadband penetration in Ireland is only at 18pc and there’s considerable room for growth.

 “As a mobile operator we find the Irish market to be competitive. What we look at is a market with huge minutes of use, the Irish like talking a lot. While there are a significant amount of operators in the market, the country has an underdeveloped fixed network.”

Without revealing the company’s plans to enter the Irish fixed-line market – O2 has been rumoured as a potential buyer of Smart Telecom – Key said the company still expects to make significant gains via its mobile broadband infrastructure.

“How do we get the right infrastructure approach? How do we broaden our product set in terms of mobile or fixed? What we do is start with the customer and then deliver appropriately.”

Key said the announcement by EU telecoms commissioner Vivian Reding to slash call connection costs by 70pc needs to be carefully considered given the effect it may have on Europe’s telecoms industry.

“The decision this week was not based on sound economic grounds. Ofcom’s (the UK telecoms regulator) response to this is: if you have to regulate, make sure it’s done on sound economic grounds.

“Let’s recognise we have a successful and healthy telecoms industry in Europe. The industry needs certainty into the future and if we’ve got that we will continue to invest and bring out great products for customers,” Key said.

By John Kennedy

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