Three Ireland confirms 5G network roll-out will begin in 2019

22 Mar 20194k Views

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Three Ireland accelerates network investment with capex spend of €118m in 2018.

Sticking to a pledge to invest €100m a year as it evolves to 5G, mobile network Three Ireland revealed a capital expenditure (capex) of €118m for 2018.

As well as confirming 98pc population coverage for 4G, Three Ireland CEO Robert Finnegan said that the company will shortly begin testing 5G and will commence the roll-out of its 5G network later this year.

‘During the year we continued to invest heavily in our network to further enhance our customers’ experience, with capex of €118m’
– ROBERT FINNEGAN

The company yesterday (21 March) revealed revenues of €591m for 2018, with an 18pc increase in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) to €200m.

The company, which a few years ago acquired the O2 network in Ireland, revealed an increase of 7pc in its active customer base, up to 2.2m people.

Three Ireland now has a 35.1pc market share in Ireland, up from 34.2pc in 2017.

Data tsunami

Three Ireland revealed that 2018 saw a 52pc increase in mobile data volumes with more than 38 terabytes of data going through Three’s network every hour, the equivalent of 1.9bn WhatsApp messages every 60 minutes.

Three Ireland said its network is now carrying more mobile data than all other operators combined. However, it said that the impact of changes to EU roaming regulation and mobile termination rates contributed to a 2pc decrease in revenue.

The company said that it has now achieved the operating expense synergy of €103m targeted at the time of the acquisition of O2 in 2014.

Switching on 5G

“These full-year results are in line with our expectations and demonstrate a strong performance for 2018, with an 18pc and 6pc increase in EBITDA and EBIT on the back of a 7pc increase in our customer base,” Finnegan said.

“During the year we continued to invest heavily in our network to further enhance our customers’ experience, with capex of €118m.

“We are now exiting our integration phase with the lowest churn in the market. This year we’re focused on building on 2018’s market share growth and completing our digital transformation, as well as trialling 5G in the coming months, with roll-out commencing later this year.”

Updated, 11.33am, 22 March 2019: This article was update to clarify that Three Ireland saw a capex spend of €118m in 2018, not €128m, and that it delivered an increase of 7pc in its active customer base, not 2pc.

John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist who served as editor of Siliconrepublic.com for 17 years.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com