2013 Ireland - Telecoms, IP Networks, Digital Media and Forecasts

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Last updated: 13 Feb 2013 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 106

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:

Magnet Networks launches free web TV; eircom launches IPTV service; Tesco Mobile profit turnaround; regulator prepares 130MHz of sub-1GHz spectrum for mobile broadband; Meteor and O2 sign network sharing deal; Vodafone and 3 agree to a 50/50 JV; O2 launches MVNO; MTRs reduced again; regulator auctions multi-band spectrum for 4G; Vodafone fined for roaming data cap breaches; mobile retail revenue continues to fall; 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; revised National Broadband Plan to deliver 30Mb/s nationally; eircom extends FttC investment; BT Ireland returns to broadband market; dramatic fall in number of WiFi hotspots and access points; regulator rules that eircom make fibre networks available to altnets; eircom launches telecoms services in the UK; Emerald Networks secures loan approval for 100Gb/s cable linking Ireland to Iceland and the US; regulator rules that eircom make fibre networks available to altnets; regulator market data to September 2012; telcos’ operating and financial data to September 2012; market developments to February 2013.

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 2013 (12th Edition)

Executive Summary

Eircom commits to network investment despite high debt

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 sectors in one of Europe’s smaller markets struggling with ongoing economic challenges. The report includes the regulator’s market data to Q3 2012, telco’s operating and financial data to September 2012 and market developments to February 2013.

Telecom market overview

Overall telecoms network and service revenue has fallen steadily in recent years, largely due to dire economic conditions, high unemployment and the emigration of a significant number of the country’s younger demographic (which has also resulted in stagnant broadband and mobile take-up). Although the telecom market is highly competitive, with some 460 licensed operators, eircom remains the de facto dominant operator in the country’s fixed-voice market while broadband competition has for long been stymied by lacklustre implementation of LLU and by the government’s protection of eircom’s market lead. Yet the growing presence of MVNOs and the entry of operators such as Vodafone into the fixed-voice market promise greater changes in coming years.

Broadband market

Broadband penetration remains below the EU average, while the DSL sector in particular has fared poorly: Ireland has long been a late developer in broadband infrastructure and take-up, while years of underinvestment in DSL networks have encouraged customers to migrate to UPC’s cable offerings. Yet the government and regulator have made encouraging moves to address the country’s low broadband development, issuing a revised National Broadband Plan aimed at delivering a 30Mb/s service across the country by 2015, and with at least half the population to access at least 70Mb/s. The government is investing €175 million in the scheme while the regulator has ruled that eircom must make new fibre-optic networks it deploys available to alternative operators. Coupled with UPC’s Fibrepower offering the country’s broadband take-up should see a significant boost in coming years, with data rates geared to reaching the EC’s target for 2020.

Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2013



2013 (e)

Subscribers by sector (million):

Fixed broadband subscribers



Mobile broadband



Mobile phone



Fixed-line telephony



Penetration by sector:

Fixed broadband









(Source: BuddeComm)

Market Highlights

  • Growth in the number of broadband connections has slowed in all sectors except cable, with overall growth less than 1% in 2012.
  • The regulator’s ruling that eircom make its fibre networks available to alternative operators should stimulate FttC-based broadband adoption in coming years and boost competition among providers.
  • VoB traffic now accounted for more than a tenth of all fixed voice minutes, placing greater strain on eircom’s revenue.
  • The number of mobile subscribers grew by barely 1% in 2012 as the sector was affected by emigration, high unemployment and lower customer spend.

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.

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