2012 Ireland - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts

Publication Overview

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

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile voice and data markets;
  • Broadband (FttH, DSL, cable TV, wireless);
  • Convergence and digital media;
  • 3G subscriber and mobile ARPU forecasts to 2015;
  • Broadband market forecasts for selective years to 2020.

Key developments:

Next Generational Broadband Taskforce set up for broadband roadmap; government pursues ‘NewEra’ National Recovery Programme; Ka-band spotbeam technology available to Digiweb Tooway, eircom and SBI satellite; dramatic fall in number of WiFi hotspots and access points; Tesco Mobile profit turnaround; regulator preparing 130MHz of sub-1GHz spectrum for mobile broadband; Meteor and O2 sign Ireland’s first network sharing deal; O2 launches MVNO; SMS traffic showed recovering growth in 2011; mobile broadband subscriptions growing nearly 10% annually; Vodafone set to increase investment by 20% in 2012; Vodafone fined for roaming data cap breaches; mobile retail revenue falls 1.2% in Q3 2011; mobile ARPU continues to slide; RTÉ initiates Saorview DTT service; coverage to be supplemented by satellite TV Saorsat; Magnet Networks launches free web TV; government’s NewEra broadband plans to support connectivity; eircom planning IPTV service in mid-2012; Eircom’s Next Generation Ethernet wholesale service opened in 600 locations; revised NRF comes into play; 14 operators use the service; government promotes NewEra National Recovery Programme requiring 90% FttC connectivity; eircom reports falling revenue in 2011; eircom puts itself up for sale to help manage €3.75 debt pile; regulator and operator data to September 2011; market developments to early 2012.

Companies covered in this report include:

Eircom, BT Ireland, Smart Telecom, Tele2, UPC Ireland, Casey Cablevision, Digiweb, Magnet Networks, Vodafone Ireland, O2, Meteor, Eircom Mobile; Tesco Mobile.

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- February 2012 ( 11th Edition)

Executive Summary

Eircom succumbs to Ireland’s economic pressures

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.

The poor economic climate has deeply affected the Irish telecom market since the second half of 2008. The government in 2009 underwrote some €50 billion worth of toxic debt accumulated by the three major banks. Mounting debts, compounded by low corporate tax and reduced income tax, obliged the government to accept up to €90 billion as a bailout from the EU and IMF in late 2010, while a four-year economic plan was devised aimed at driving down the country’s deficit from 12% to 3% of GDP by the end of 2015 by cutting €15 billion off state spending. Ireland’s last three budgets have already cut public spending by up to €14 billion. In early 2011 a new coalition government was formed between Fine Gael and Labour to help push through a revised economic programme.

The government’s indebtedness has made it difficult to honour its former pledges of public money to upgrade national telecoms networks, and so it has had to lean increasingly on the cash-strapped private sector. The telecom sector has also been affected by reduced consumer spend on all but essential services. While mobile and broadband services are considered a ‘safe’ revenue stream for operators, there is little extravagance among consumers, and so operators have faced reduced revenue and with it the cash to invest in networks, infrastructure and upgrades.

Over the past six years or so changes in telecom sector revenue have mirrored economic output, and as the current recession has deepened both GDP and telecom revenue have declined. Nevertheless, the contribution of the telecom sector to GDP has grown during the last three years, suggesting that the sector is moderately healthier than other sectors of the economy.

Ireland’s mobile penetration is on a par with the EU average, having grown at one of the fastest rates in the EU in recent years. The country also has an above average level of data revenue as a percentage of total mobile revenue Although blended ARPU has continued to fall steadily, it remains among the highest in the EU. Despite economic constraints ARPU should remain stable towards the end of 2012 as increased mobile data traffic outweighs a shift to prepaid usage among consumers.

Growth in the number of broadband subscriptions has slowed in recent quarters and is largely propped up by the mobile broadband sector. DSL remains the dominant platform, though a gradual shift to FttX networks will see this dominance decline in coming years. The cable sector has been supported by UPC’s investment in DOCSIS 3.0 technology, which provides considerably higher data rates than is currently possible through DSL.

Eircom’s dominance in the broadband market is gradually slipping, representing about 65% of subscriptions by the beginning of 2012. Greater efforts by the government and regulator have led to higher broadband penetration in Ireland, though the country still ranks near the bottom of OECD countries. In the EU it is ranked above only Greece. The slow process of LLU is a major reason for Ireland’s poor position: competitors via LLU provide only about 9% of all DSL accesses.

Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2012

Sector

2010

2012 (e)

Subscribers to telecoms services:

Fixed broadband subscribers (million)

1.59

1.75

Fixed-line telephony (million)

1.86

1.75

Mobile broadband subscribers (thousand)

570

790

Mobile phone (million)

5.27

5.62

Penetration by telecom service:

Fixed broadband

35%

39%

Fixed-line telephony

49%

45%

Mobile SIM penetration

118%

127%

(Source: BuddeComm)

Market Highlights

  • Ireland’s FttX networks have developed slowly as a result of eircom’s financial constraints. The cost of extending network builds beyond certain exchanges in the main towns remain prohibitive and so further developments during the next few years will be restricted. The absence of a regulatory mechanism to encourage network construction and investment has added to the sector’s difficulties.
  • The MVNO market remains underdeveloped, with few operators involved. In early 2012 an existing MNO, O2, launch its own low-cost service targeted at the youth market.
  • The regulator’s final decision on ASO will see the process completed in three phases during the first four months of 2012. Released digital dividend spectrum will be auctioned as part of the government’s efforts to raise €700 million, so fulfilling financial conditions reached with the EU and IMF.
  • The chaotic DTTV market remains in limbo. The failure of Boxer (awarded three national DTTV multiplexes) as well as the One Vision consortium was compounded by the refusal of the third bidder for the DTTV service, the Easy TV consortium (comprising RTÉ and Liberty Global), to negotiate with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). The BAI has ruled out introducing commercial DTTV until after analogue TV services are switched off at the end of 2012, with services not to be launched until 2013. all three groups which contested the 2008 DTT contest have withdrawn from the process.

This report is essential reading for those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the telecom sector in Ireland. It provides further information on:

  • Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
  • The impact of the global economic crisis;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile data market developments in coming years in light of spectrum auctions and new license awards;
  • 3G developments, regulatory issues and technologies including HSPA and LTE;
  • Broadband migration to an FttH architecture;
  • Historical and current subscriber statistics and forecasts;
  • ARPU statistics and forecasts.

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

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key Statistics
  • 2. Telecommunications Market
    • 2.1 Overview of Ireland’s telecom market
  • 3. Regulatory Environment
    • 3.1 History
    • 3.2 Revised NFR
    • 3.3 Regulatory authority
      • 3.3.1 Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg)
    • 3.4 Telecom sector liberalisation in Ireland
      • 3.4.1 Privatisation of eircom
      • 3.4.2 Interconnect
      • 3.4.3 Access
      • 3.4.4 Fibre access
    • 3.5 Number Portability (NP)
    • 3.6 Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
  • 4. Fixed Network Operators
    • 4.1 Overview
    • 4.2 Operator market shares
    • 4.3 Eircom
      • 4.3.1 Going into 2012
    • 4.4 BT Ireland
    • 4.5 Smart Telecom
    • 4.6 Tele2
    • 4.7 Other operators
  • 5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
    • 5.1 National telecom network
    • 5.2 Structural separation issues
    • 5.3 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
    • 5.4 International
      • 5.4.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 5.4.2 Satellite networks
  • 6. Broadband Market
    • 6.1 Overview
      • 6.1.1 Broadband statistics
      • 6.1.2 National Development Plan to 2013
      • 6.1.3 Promoting broadband
      • 6.1.4 Government networks
      • 6.1.5 Other providers
      • 6.1.6 Regional infrastructure
      • 6.1.7 Wholesale bitstream
    • 6.2 Cable modems
    • 6.3 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
      • 6.3.1 Alternative operators
      • 6.3.2 ADSL2+
    • 6.4 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) networks
    • 6.5 Broadband Powerline (BPL)
    • 6.6 Mobile broadband
    • 6.7 Wireless broadband
      • 6.7.1 1.7GHz band
      • 6.7.2 10.5GHz band
      • 6.7.3 3.5GHz band
      • 6.7.4 Other spectrum
      • 6.7.5 Digiweb
      • 6.7.6 National Fixed Wireless Point to Multipoint Licences (FWPMA)
      • 6.7.7 Other developments
      • 6.7.8 Other bands
      • 6.7.9 WiFi
      • 6.7.10 Worldwide Interoperability of Microwave Access (WiMAX)
      • 6.7.11 WiFibre
      • 6.7.12 Internet via satellite
    • 6.8 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2012; 2020
      • 6.8.1 Scenario 1 – higher broadband subscriber growth
      • 6.8.2 Scenario 2 – lower broadband subscriber growth
  • 7. Digital Media
    • 7.1 Overview
    • 7.2 Key general trends
    • 7.3 Business models
      • 7.3.1 Bundled services
      • 7.3.2 Smart Telecom
      • 7.3.3 Magnet Networks
      • 7.3.4 UPC Ireland
    • 7.4 Regulatory issues
      • 7.4.1 VoIP
      • 7.4.2 Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Systems (MMDS)
    • 7.5 Digital TV
      • 7.5.1 Overview and statistics
      • 7.5.2 Broadband TV (IPTV)
      • 7.5.3 Cable TV
      • 7.5.4 Satellite TV
      • 7.5.5 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
      • 7.5.6 Video-on-Demand (VoD)
      • 7.5.7 VoIP
      • 7.5.8 Digital cinema
      • 7.5.9 Interactive TV (iTV)
  • 8. Mobile Communications
    • 8.1 Overview of Ireland’s mobile market
    • 8.2 Mobile statistics
      • 8.2.1 Operator market shares
    • 8.3 Regulatory issues
      • 8.3.1 Spectrum regulations and spectrum auctions
      • 8.3.2 Roaming
      • 8.3.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 8.3.4 Mobile termination rates (MTRs)
      • 8.3.5 Wideband Digital Mobile Data Services (WDMDS)
      • 8.3.6 Network sharing
    • 8.4 Mobile technologies
      • 8.4.1 Digital
      • 8.4.2 Third Generation (3G) mobile
    • 8.5 Major mobile operators
      • 8.5.1 Vodafone Ireland
      • 8.5.2 O2 Ireland
      • 8.5.3 Meteor Mobile
      • 8.5.4 Eircom Mobile
      • 8.5.5 3 Ireland
      • 8.5.6 MVNOs
    • 8.6 Mobile voice services
      • 8.6.1 Prepaid
    • 8.7 Mobile Messaging
      • 8.7.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 8.7.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
    • 8.8 Mobile data services
      • 8.8.1 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
      • 8.8.2 High-Speed Circuit-Switched Data (HSCSD)
      • 8.8.3 Enhanced Data for GSM Evolution (EDGE)
      • 8.8.4 High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA)
      • 8.8.5 Enhanced High Speed Packet Access (HSPA+)
      • 8.8.6 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
    • 8.9 Mobile applications
      • 8.9.1 Overview
      • 8.9.2 Mobile TV
    • 8.10 Forecasts
      • 8.10.1 Forecasts – mobile ARPU – 2009 - 2010; 2015
      • 8.10.2 Forecasts – UMTS subscribers – 2009 - 2010; 2015
  • 9. Glossary of Abbreviations
  • Table 1 - Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2012
  • Table 2 – Country statistics – 2011(e)
  • Table 3 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2011 (e)
  • Table 4 – Telephone network statistics – September 2011
  • Table 5 – Internet user statistics – June 2011
  • Table 6 – Broadband statistics – September 2011
  • Table 7 – Mobile statistics – September 2011
  • Table 8 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 9 – Market revenue annual change by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors – 2010 - 2011
  • Table 10 – Market revenue by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors – 2010 - 2011
  • Table 11 – Market revenue share by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors – 2002 - 2011
  • Table 12 – Subscribers by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors – 2008 - 2011
  • Table 13 – Unbundled loops and access lines – 2005 - 2011
  • Table 14 – Eircom access channels: PSTN, ISDN, ADSL – 2007 - 2010
  • Table 15 – Indirect access lines: CPS and WLR – 2005 - 2011
  • Table 16 – Fixed-line and mobile voice traffic in minutes – 2008 - 2011
  • Table 17 – Proportion of fixed-line revenue by service – 2004 - 2011
  • Table 18 – Fixed-line share of revenue by operator (eircom and altnets) – Q3 2011
  • Table 19 – Eircom access channels – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 20 – Eircom financial data (historic) – 2001 - 2007
  • Table 21 – Eircom financial data (year to June) – 2008 - 2011
  • Table 22 – Eircom revenue by sector (year to June) – 2009 - 2011
  • Table 23 – BT Ireland broadband subscribers – 2006 - 2009
  • Table 24 – BT Ireland revenue – 2008 - 2010
  • Table 25 – Smart Telecom financial data (historic) – 2003 - 2005
  • Table 26 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995; 1997; 1999; 2000 - 2011
  • Table 27 – Broadband penetration by technology – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 28 – Dial-up internet subscribers – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 29 – Total internet users – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 30 – Total broadband subscribers by access type – 2002 - 2012
  • Table 31 – Total broadband penetration – 2003 - 2012
  • Table 32 – Share of broadband subscribers by platform – 2007 - 2011
  • Table 33 – Market share of fixed broadband subscriptions by operator – 2010 - 2011
  • Table 34 – Fixed-line broadband revenue – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 35 – Broadband access speeds: market share, business and residential – Q3 2011
  • Table 36 – UPC Ireland subscribers – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 37 – UPC Ireland revenue – 2006 - 2009
  • Table 38 – DSL access provision by type and operator – 2002 – 2011
  • Table 39 – Eircom’s ADSL lines – 2005 - 2011
  • Table 40 – Mobile broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 41 – Mobile broadband share of all broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2012
  • Table 42 – Mobile broadband market share by operator – 2010 - 2011
  • Table 43 – Wireless broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2011
  • Table 44 – Wireless hotspots and access points - 2007 - 2011
  • Table 45 – Forecast fixed-line broadband subscribers – higher market growth scenario– 2009 - 2012; 2020
  • Table 46 – Forecast fixed-line broadband penetration – higher market growth scenario– 2009 - 2012; 2020
  • Table 47 – Forecast fixed-line broadband subscribers – lower market growth scenario – 2009 - 2012; 2020
  • Table 48 – Forecast fixed-line broadband penetration – lower market growth scenario – 2009 - 2012; 2020
  • Table 49 – Subscribers to bundled services, by type – September 2011
  • Table 50 – Statistical overview of Ireland’s broadcasting market – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 51 – Uptake of broadcasting services, % of total – 2002 - 2011
  • Table 52 – Proportion of pay TV and FTA households – 2008 - 2011
  • Table 53 – Proportion of digital and analogue households – 2007 - 2011
  • Table 54 – Uptake of broadcasting services, % of total – 2002 - 2011
  • Table 55 – Digital TV: cable and satellite market share – 2004 - 2011
  • Table 56 – Digital Pay TV subscribers as percentage of pay TV – 2004 - 2011
  • Table 57 – Cable TV subscribers and penetration rate – 2000 – 2011; 2015
  • Table 58 – Digital cable TV subscribers – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 59 – UPC Ireland subscribers – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 60 – UPC Ireland revenue – 2006 - 2009
  • Table 61 – Satellite TV antennae and home penetration – 1992 – 2011; 2015
  • Table 62 – BSkyB satellite TV subscribers – 2003 - 2008
  • Table 63 – Operator blended ARPU – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 64 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – Sep 2011
  • Table 65 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2013
  • Table 66 – Mobile market revenue, voice and data – 2005 - 2012
  • Table 67 – Mobile share of subscribers by operator – 2005 - 2011
  • Table 68 – Mobile share of revenue by operator – 2005 - 2011
  • Table 69 – European roaming charges – 2007 - 2011
  • Table 70 – Roaming in call traffic volume and messages – 2003 - 2010
  • Table 71 – Annual mobile numbers ported – 2005 - 2011
  • Table 72 – Cumulative mobile numbers ported – 2003 - 2011
  • Table 73 – MTRs by operator – 2010 - 2012
  • Table 74 – 3G subscribers by type – Sept 2011
  • Table 75 – Vodafone subscribers – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 76 – Vodafone service revenue – 2010 - 2011
  • Table 77 – Vodafone blended ARPU – 2006 – 2008; 2010 - 2011
  • Table 78 – O2 mobile financial data – 2007 - 2011
  • Table 79 – O2 mobile data statistics – 2007 - 2011
  • Table 80 – O2 annualised ARPU, blended, prepaid and contract – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 81 – O2 subscribers – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 82 – Meteor Mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 83 – Meteor Mobile services revenue and annual change – 2009 - 2010
  • Table 84 – Meteor Mobile ARPU - 2006 - 2010
  • Table 85 – 3 Ireland subscribers – 2006 - 2011
  • Table 86 – 3 Ireland financial data – 2007 - 2010
  • Table 87 – Mobile voice minutes – 2005 - 2013
  • Table 88 – Prepaid versus postpaid share of subscribers – 2000 - 2012
  • Table 89 – Proportion of prepaid subscribers by operator – 2007 - 2011
  • Table 90 – SMS messages sent – 2000 - 2013
  • Table 91 – MMS messages sent – 2005 - 2013
  • Table 92 – Mobile data as proportion of total revenue – 2006 - 2010
  • Table 93 – Mobile broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2011
  • Table 94 – Market share of mobile broadband subscribers, by operator – 2010
  • Table 95 – Forecast mobile ARPU – 2005 - 2010; 2015
  • Table 96 – Forecast UMTS subscribers – 2006 - 2010; 2015
  • Chart 1 – Market revenue share by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors – 2002 - 2011
  • Chart 2 – Broadband and mobile subscribers – 2008 - 2011
  • Chart 3 - Unbundled loops and access lines – 2005 - 2011
  • Chart 4 – Eircom access channels: PSTN, ISDN, ADSL – 2007 - 2010
  • Chart 5 – Fixed-line and mobile voice traffic in minutes – 2008 - 2011
  • Chart 6 – Proportion of fixed-line revenue by service – 2004 – 2011
  • Chart 7 – Eircom access channels – 2006 - 2010
  • Chart 8 – Eircom financial data (historic) – 2001 - 2007
  • Chart 9 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 - 2011
  • Chart 10 – Total broadband subscribers by access type – 2002 - 2012
  • Chart 11 – Share of broadband subscribers by platform – 2007 - 2011
  • Chart 12 – UPC Ireland broadband, phone, cable TV subscribers – 2006 - 2011
  • Chart 13 – DSL access provision by type and operator – 2002 – 2011
  • Chart 14 – Wireless hotspots and access points – 2007 - 2011
  • Chart 15 – TV households by type (cable, satellite, pay) – 2006 - 2011
  • Chart 16 – Uptake of broadcasting services, proportion of total – 2002 - 2011
  • Chart 17 – Digital TV: cable and satellite market share – 2004 - 2011
  • Chart 18 – Cable TV subscribers and penetration rate – 2000 - 2011; 2015
  • Chart 19 – UPC Ireland cable TV subscribers – 2006 - 2011
  • Chart 20 – Satellite TV subscribers and home penetration – 2000 – 2011; 2015
  • Chart 21 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2000 - 2013
  • Chart 22 – Mobile market revenue, voice and data – 2006 - 2012
  • Chart 23 – Mobile share of subscribers by operator – 2006 - 2011
  • Chart 24 – Mobile share of revenue by operator – 2006 - 2011
  • Chart 25 – O2 mobile financial data – 2007 - 2011
  • Chart 26 – O2 annualised ARPU, blended, prepaid and contract – 2006 - 2011
  • Chart 27 – O2 subscribers – 2007 - 2011
  • Exhibit 1 – EU – The New Regulatory Framework (NRF)
  • Exhibit 2 – Access and the local loop
  • Exhibit 3 – Overview of digital media
  • Exhibit 4 – 3G licence results – June 2002
  • Exhibit 5 – Multiband frequency award process - 2012
  • Exhibit 6 – WDMDS licences: operators, spectrum and fees – 2005

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