Eircom to launch 4G mobile phone service

Thursday 26 September 2013 08.08
Ireland's first 4G mobile phone service will be launched by Eircom
Ireland's first 4G mobile phone service will be launched by Eircom

Ireland's first 4G mobile phone service will be launched by Eircom on Thursday.

Eircom is to become the first operator to offer the high-speed fourth generation technology to the Irish market, through its Meteor and eMobile brands.

4G technology uses newly freed up bandwidth in the radio spectrum to provide greatly increased data speeds.

It will allow users to download and upload video, music and files much more quickly.

Ireland is behind many other European countries in its rollout of 4G.

Earlier today, Vodafone announced it will also launch its 4G data service in mid-October and its full fourth generation service by Christmas.

It said it will make 4G available to customers in five cities and 26 towns.

Eircom's service will initially only be available in Dublin, Carlow and Athlone, reaching 30% of the population or 1.2 million customers.

However, the company said it hopes to extend coverage to other major urban centres, including Cork, Galway and Limerick, between now and Christmas, raising the population coverage to 43%.

It hopes to reach 50% population coverage by next summer.

Eircom said users of its network can expect peak download speeds of between 20 and 25Mbps, which is up to ten times faster than 3G services typically offer.

It said speeds of up to 60Mbps have been recorded in technical trials.

Eircom is investing €330m over five years in building a new network.

It said it will not charge a price premium to customers who wish to use the 4G service.

But under its price plans, users will have to pay more for higher data caps.

However, 4G users will have access to unlimited 4G data until March 2014.

While some experts have raised questions about the availability of 4G handsets, Eircom said its customers will have access to a choice of 19 at launch, as well as mifi, dongles, and mobile broadband devices.

Eircom also claims its network is ready to take an anticipated significant increase in data traffic, which will arise as people take advantage of faster 4G download speeds to stream and move big files while on the move.

Meanwhile, Vodafone will launch its 4G data service in Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Limerick and large towns in the southeast and southwest in mid-October.

It will also have a range of 4G devices available before Christmas.

It said 4G will be available at no extra cost for personal customers on Vodafone Red and Vodafone Super Red, and business customers on Red Business and Red Business Super. Prepay will be available next year.

The other two operators with 4G licences, O2 and 3, are still working on building and testing their networks. 3 said it hopes to launch around November.

O2 said its network is well progressed, although it was unable to say when it intends launching.

Its plans are complicated by the fact it is currently awaiting approval for its purchase by 3.However, the company said it hopes to extend coverage to other major urban centres, including Cork, Galway and Limerick, between now and Christmas, raising the population coverage to 43%.

It hopes to reach 50% population coverage by next summer.

Eircom said users of its network can expect peak download speeds of between 20 and 25Mbps, which is up to ten times faster than 3G services typically offer.

It said speeds of up to 60Mbps have been recorded in technical trials.

Eircom is investing €330m over five years in building a new network.

It said it will not charge a price premium to customers who wish to use the 4G service.

But under its price plans, users will have to pay more for higher data caps.

However, 4G users will have access to unlimited 4G data until March 2014.

While some experts have raised questions about the availability of 4G handsets, Eircom said its customers will have access to a choice of 19 at launch, as well as mifi, dongles, and mobile broadband devices.

Eircom also claims its network is ready to take an anticipated significant increase in data traffic, which will arise as people take advantage of faster 4G download speeds to stream and move big files while on the move.

Meanwhile, Vodafone will launch its 4G data service in Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Limerick and large towns in the southeast and southwest in mid-October.

It will also have a range of 4G devices available before Christmas.

It said 4G will be available at no extra cost for personal customers on Vodafone Red and Vodafone Super Red, and business customers on Red Business and Red Business Super. Prepay will be available next year.

The other two operators with 4G licences, O2 and 3, are still working on building and testing their networks. 3 said it hopes to launch around November.

O2 said its network is well progressed, although it was unable to say when it intends launching.

Its plans are complicated by the fact it is currently awaiting approval for its purchase by 3.