An alternative telecoms network is in the making today with the signing of a landmark partnership agreement between BT and Vodafone, which will position the latter as the clear No 2 in the fixed market in Ireland.
Under the terms of the agreement, which is subject to approval from the Irish Competition Authority, BT will hand over its consumer and small business broadband and voice customer base to Vodafone and will also provide wholesale network services to underpin Vodafone’s business over a seven-year period.
Over 84,000 consumers and 3,000 small businesses currently with BT will transfer to Vodafone over the next few months, a move BT Ireland CEO Chris Clark (pictured) described as “a very positive chapter in Ireland’s telecoms history”, which will open up the market to greater competition and choice.
BT is providing a platform for the delivery of up to 24Mps broadband services to roughly two thirds of Ireland’s available broadband lines by unbundling up to 58 additional exchanges. To date, it has already unbundled 22 exchanges in the Republic.
Charles Butterworth, Vodafone Ireland CEO, said the agreement would give Vodafone the ability to launch “an exciting and innovative roadmap of fixed products and services that are strongly differentiated from those available in the market today.”
Following the transfer of customers, Vodafone will rank second in the fixed market behind Eircom with over 170,000 fixed customers and a 15pc market share of the fixed broadband market.
The value of the gross assets that are the subject of this transaction was €4.8m at 31 March 2009.
By Sorcha Corcoran
Pictured: BT Ireland CEO Chris Clark