Carphone Warehouse, which acquired the entire Irish business of Tele2’s Ireland and UK carrier pre-select (CPS) operations for £8.5m sterling in December, is conducting a feasibility study into entering the Irish broadband market, siliconrepublic.com can reveal.
In an interview with siliconrepublic.com, the chief executive of Carphone Warehouse in Ireland Stephen Mackarel said that the company is in discussion with a number of existing broadband providers in the Irish marketplace.
He said the discussions centre around possibly forging a partnership to combine with its 80,000-strong CPS customer base in the Irish market.
“We are also looking at the possibility of performing local loop unbundling (LLU) ourselves,” he explained.
“We will have a broadband offering under our Talk Talk brand at some stage in the near future. It’s just a matter of timing really,” said Mackarel.
Mackarel said the company is also evaluating a possible mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) play in the Irish market.
He predicted that in the year ahead at least one or two MVNO ventures could launch in the Irish marketplace. “My understanding is that there are a number of different organisations in negotiations with the mobile networks here. A couple of names have been mentioned, including Ryanair. You’ll definitely see a MVNO venture from somebody in the next 12 months.”
Returning to the subject of broadband, Mackarel said that ‘triple-play’ services combining TV, broadband and telephony are right for the Irish market. “It’s definitely the way forward. If you can provide all of these services for customers it makes it much easier for customers when only dealing with one provider to get mobile, their phone and broadband and TV channels down one line. It makes sense, so why not?
“We would look at it [triple play] but it would be a long way off. Mobile is still our core business but we are looking to expand into fixed; talk would be our next strategy after our move into broadband.
“We also acquired a company called Opal Telecom last year and we bought Tele2, which has given us about 80,000 residential customers on our fixed-line business. We want to get to the 100,000 mark by mid-2006 and we’re well on target to hit that.
“We intend to continue to acquire customers aggressively,” Mackarel said.
By John Kennedy