2009 Ireland - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts

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Last updated: 27 Jan 2010 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 102

Publication Overview

This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Ireland’s telecommunications market. The report analyses trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, Internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media including VoIP, VoD and IPTV developments. Subjects include:

·         Key statistics;

·         Market and industry overviews;

·         Industry and regulatory issues;

·         Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);

·         Mobile voice and data markets;

·         Internet and broadband development and pricing;

·         Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);

·         Telecom market forecasts for selective years to 2015 or 2019.


Researcher:- Henry Lancaster

Current publication date:- January 2010 (8th Edition)

Next publication date:- January 2011

Executive Summary

BuddeComm’s annual publication, Ireland - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts, provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in Ireland.


Ireland’s telecom market has suffered from poor broadband take-up, underinvestment and mismanagement among some of the key operators. Falling GDP since the beginning of 2008 has been compounded by the effects of the financial crisis and recession. This has hit the incumbent operator eircom particularly hard, with its parent company facing bankruptcy and eircom itself being sold to STT in January 2010. These factors will continue to have dire implications for the government’s efforts to improve Ireland’s telecom infrastructure into 2010.


Overall telecom market revenue fell by about 12% in 2009, year-on-year, dragged down by the poorly performing fixed-line, mobile and broadcasting sectors, the effects of the recession and also the lower consumer cost derived from a plethora of bundled products. There will be little relief for operators in 2010 or 2011 as the continuing effects of the economic crisis dampen consumer spend.


Nevertheless, the sector offers some hope of resilience in coming years, aided by government investment as well as the impending auction of 1800MHz and 900MHz spectrum aimed at stimulating the mobile broadband sector. The competitive nature of Ireland’s telecom market – with some 450 licensed operators – also bodes well for consumer pricing.


Fixed-line penetration has fallen steadily in recent years while mobile penetration has increased to the degree that by early 2010 about a quarter of households had a mobile but no fixed-line telephone service.


The number of broadband subscribers continues to climb steadily, but consumers are hampered by poor delivery and some of the slowest access speeds in Europe. This has also restricted consumer uptake of high-end services such as IPTV and VoD. Few advances are to be expected during the next few years, as little commercial investment has been allocated to fibre networks, leaving the principal fibre infrastructure to lie in backhaul.


Ireland – key telecom parameters – 2008, 2010



2010 (e)




Fixed broadband subscribers (million)



Fixed broadband penetration rate



Mobile broadband subscribers (thousand)



Subscribers to telecoms services:




Fixed-line telephony (million)



Mobile phone (million)



Mobile penetration (population)



(Source: BuddeComm)


Key Highlights

·         The mobile sector share in overall revenue has fallen steadily in recent years, reaching less than 45% by early 2010. This share is likely to drop further in coming years in response to regulated measures affecting roaming and interconnection tariffs, as well as competition among the triopoly of providers and the small number of MVNOs.

·         LLU for broadband access has grown slowly compared to other markets. Shared access has generally been favoured over full LLU. This trend may reverse during 2010 following the regulator’s decision to cut shared access wholesale line charges to less than a Euro (among the cheapest in Europe).

·         In common with EC policies, the regulator hoped to rejuvenate the mobile data sector by aiming to liberalise the current 900MHz and 1800MHz bands, making them available for 3G or compatible wireless services. Two of the MNOs’ licences expire in 2011 while the third expires in 2015. New licences to be awarded on a liberalised basis will provide operators with greater flexibility in their use of spectrum.

·         Mobile broadband subscribers using operators’ HSPA networks have been the largest contributor to overall broadband growth since the beginning of 2008. By early 2010 about 15% of all mobile subscribers were on HSPA networks. Although mobile broadband has earned a place in promoting broadband access, the pricing structure of mobile data services needs to be reduced in coming years to make them more attractive to consumers.


Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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