O2 confirms €250m broadband network upgrade

28 Aug 2006

Ireland’s second-largest mobile operator O2 this morning confirmed to siliconrepublic.com that it plans to invest €250m in a next-generation network which it says will pave the way for broadband at home and on the move.

The new network will incorporate the latest HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) technology

The contract to build O2’s next-generation network has been awarded to Ericsson Ireland and trials of the new technology will take place in September and October this year. Product and pricing details will subsequently be announced.

The company said that the O2 broadband service will deliver peak rate speeds from 3.6MB up to 14.4MB, with bandwidth that will both match and exceed those currently available in the Irish market from fixed-line and wireless operators.

It is predicted that by the end of this year O2’s network will support broadband for over 60pc of consumers nationwide and by the end of 2007 this will increase to 80pc. This will make broadband available to many consumers who currently cannot avail of broadband via DSL or over fixed wireless.

Broadband over O2’s next-generation network will offer peak rate download speeds starting at 3.6MB per second by December 2006, rising to 14.4MB by end 2007.

Sources say that O2 broadband will offer significantly higher upload speeds than the current broadband offering in the market, starting at 1.5MB per second in January 2007 and rising to over 5MB by the end of that year (the highest upload speed currently available with standard DSL packages is 512k).

The strategy follows on announcements by Vodafone during the summer to introduce HSDPA-based services later this year for around €49 per month. By the end of the year Vodafone’s existing 3G services will be boosted to 1.2MB per second by HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) and Vodafone has confirmed that the flat rate will apply to this service

By John Kennedy