Ireland - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

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 developments;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Convergence and Digital Media;
  • Mobile subscriber and ARPU forecasts;
  • Broadband market forecasts for selective years to 2022.
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE).

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- April 2017 (16th Edition) 

Executive Summary

Irish government poised to invest €600 million for national broadband coverage

Ireland’s telecom market has emerged from a long period in which it had been held back by low broadband uptake and a poor economic climate which hindered investment among operators as well as spending among consumers. The country during the last two years has recorded the highest GDP growth within the European Union (EU), and this has reinvigorated the telecom sector. Operators including eir, enet and Vodafone Ireland (in cooperation with the utility ESB) have extensive fibre-based networks deployments in place aimed at providing 1Gb/s services, while the government is poised to award a contract as part of its National Broadband Plan by which all premises will receive a service of at least 30Mb/s by 2022. This Plan, requiring an investment of up to €600 million and expected to deliver broadband services to about 900,000 premises considered uncommercial by market players, will greatly boost the adoption of OTT videostreaming services as well as services including e-government, e-health and e-learning.

Although there was a downward trend for overall telecom revenue after 2010, this has been reversed since 2015. There was an encouraging 1.4% increase sector revenue in the fourth quarter of 2015, year-on-year, and a 1.6% increase in the fourth quarter of 2016.

In the broadband market investment has been channelled into fibre-based access. In the cable sector, Virgin Media Ireland expects to increase its footprint from 50% of premises to 70% within the next two years, and is looking to upgrade it network capabilities by deploying the DOCSIS3.1 standard, which can deliver data at above 1Gb/s.

Ireland’s mobile market is dominated by Vodafone Ireland and 3 Ireland, followed at some distance by Eir Mobile. The market has room for a small number of MVNOs, the largest of which is Tesco Mobile. Competition in the market in recent years has left some MVNOs struggling. Although the number of dedicated mobile broadband subscribers fell in 2016 for the first time, mobile broadband use, supported by extensive HSPA and LTE networks, remains very popular among consumers, particularly since the introduction of flat-rate data plans. LTE forms an integral part of the government’s national broadband strategy, with upgraded LTE technologies being used to provide the required minimum service in many rural areas.

This report provides statistics and analysis on the key sectors of the Irish telecom market, presenting an overview of the regulatory environment, the fixed network operators and services, and telecom infrastructure. The report also profiles the fixed and wireless broadband markets as well as the mobile market, together with analyses of developments in related technologies such as FttP, powerline broadband, wireless and mobile broadband, Wi-Fi, internet via satellite, LTE and5G. The report includes forecasts for broadband and mobile uptake to 2022.

Key developments:

  • Government to tender for vendors for the National Broadband Plan by mid-2017;
  • Eir challenges some elements of its USO;
  • Ireland-France Cable-1 (IFC-1) system secures additional finance;
  • Eir requests to close copper infrastructure in some areas upgraded with fibre;
  • Eir reports slight increase in revenue into fiscal 2017;
  • Regulator revises strategy to manage radio spectrum to 2018;
  • 3 Ireland invests €300 million to provide 225Mb/s ‘4G Plus’ service nationally;
  • Vodafone Ireland completes national LTE network upgrade project;
  • Vodafone launches NB-IoT services;
  • SMS traffic shows continuing decline;
  • VDSL connections grew 40% in 2016;
  • Vodafone Ireland and SIRO launch the ‘Gigabit Hub Initiative’;
  • Government completes Broadband Intervention Map;
  • Eir launches VDSL vectoring services;
  • Eir’s eFiber service accounting for 57% of its broadband connections by end-2016;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to Q4 2016, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q4 2016, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Eir, BT Ireland, Smart Telecom, Tele2, Virgin Media Ireland (formerly UPC Ireland), Casey CableVision, Digiweb, Vodafone Ireland, O2, Meteor, eMobile; Tesco Mobile, Magnet Networks.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key statistics
    • 1.1 Country overview
  • 2. Telecommunications market
    • 2.1 Overview
  • 3. Regulatory environment
    • 3.1 Historical overview
    • 3.2 Revised NFR
    • 3.3 Regulatory authority
    • 3.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 3.5 Privatisation
    • 3.6 Interconnect
    • 3.7 Access
    • 3.8 Leased lines
    • 3.9 Fibre access
    • 3.10 Number Portability (NP)
    • 3.11 Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
  • 4. Fixed network operators
    • 4.1 Introduction
    • 4.2 Eir
      • 4.2.1 Company restructures
    • 4.3 BT Ireland
    • 4.4 Smart Telecom
    • 4.5 Tele2
    • 4.6 Other operators
  • 5. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 5.2 International infrastructure
      • 5.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 5.2.2 Satellite networks
  • 6. Broadband market
    • 6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 6.1.1 Market analysis
      • 6.1.2 National Broadband Plan
      • 6.1.3 Government networks
      • 6.1.4 Regional infrastructure
      • 6.1.5 Wholesale bitstream
      • 6.1.6 Broadband statistics
      • 6.1.7 Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
    • 6.2 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
    • 6.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 6.3.1 Alternative operators
      • 6.3.2 ADSL2+
      • 6.3.3 VDSL
      • 6.3.4 Vectoring DSL
    • 6.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • 6.4.1 Eir
      • 6.4.2 BT Ireland
      • 6.4.3 SIRO
      • 6.4.4 Sky
      • 6.4.5 Other developments
    • 6.5 Broadband Powerline (BPL)
    • 6.6 Wireless broadband
      • 6.6.1 1.7GHz band
      • 6.6.2 10.5GHz band
      • 6.6.3 3.5GHz band
      • 6.6.4 Other spectrum
      • 6.6.5 Digiweb
      • 6.6.6 National Fixed Wireless Point to Multipoint Licences (FWPMA)
      • 6.6.7 Other developments
      • 6.6.8 Other bands
      • 6.6.9 Wi-Fi
      • 6.6.10 Worldwide Interoperability of Microwave Access (WiMAX)
      • 6.6.11 Wi-Fibre
      • 6.6.12 Internet via satellite
  • 7. Digital media
    • 7.1 Introduction
    • 7.2 Bundled services
      • 7.2.1 Smart Telecom
      • 7.2.2 Magnet Networks
      • 7.2.3 Virgin Media Ireland
      • 7.2.4 Vodafone Ireland
    • 7.3 Regulatory issues
      • 7.3.1 Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Systems (MMDS)
    • 7.4 Digital TV
      • 7.4.1 Overview and statistics
      • 7.4.2 Videostreaming
      • 7.4.3 Communications: VoIP
      • 7.4.4 Cable TV
      • 7.4.5 Satellite TV
      • 7.4.6 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTTV)
      • 7.4.7 Digital cinema
      • 7.4.8 Interactive TV (iTV)
  • 8. Digital economy
    • 8.1 e-health
  • 9. Mobile communications
    • 9.1 Market analysis
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
      • 9.2.1 General statistics
      • 9.2.2 Mobile voice
      • 9.2.3 Mobile data
      • 9.2.4 Mobile broadband
      • 9.2.5 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
    • 9.3 Regulatory issues
      • 9.3.1 Spectrum regulations and spectrum auctions
      • 9.3.2 Roaming
      • 9.3.3 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 9.3.4 Mobile termination rates (MTRs)
      • 9.3.5 Wideband Digital Mobile Data Services (WDMDS)
      • 9.3.6 Network sharing
    • 9.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.4.1 Analogue networks
      • 9.4.2 Digital networks
      • 9.4.3 Other infrastructure developments
      • 9.4.4 Machine-to-Machine (M2M) networks
      • 9.4.5 Internet of Things
    • 9.5 Major mobile operators
      • 9.5.1 Vodafone Ireland
      • 9.5.2 O2 Ireland
      • 9.5.3 Eir Mobile
      • 9.5.4 3 Ireland
      • 9.5.5 MVNOs
    • 9.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 9.6.1 Mobile TV
      • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2016
      • Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2016
      • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2016
      • Table 5 – Broadband statistics – 2016
      • Table 6 – Mobile statistics – 2016
      • Table 7 – National telecommunications authority
      • Table 8 – Telecom sector retail revenue – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 9 – Market revenue annual change by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 10 – retail and wholesale revenue by sector – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 11 – Market revenue share by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 12 – Unbundled loops and access lines – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 13 – Annual ported fixed-line numbers – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 14 – Indirect access lines: CPS and WLR – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 15 – Fixed-line and mobile voice traffic in minutes – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 16 – Fixed-line share of retail revenue by major operator – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 17 – Eir financial data (historic) – 2001 - 2007
      • Table 18 – Eir financial data (year to June) – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 19 – Eir revenue by sector (year to June) – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 20 – Eir subscribers by sector – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 21 – Smart Telecom financial data (historic) – 2003 - 2005
      • Table 22 – Historic - Fixed voice subscriptions in service and teledensity – 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2009
      • Table 23 – Fixed voice subscriptions and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 24 – Market share of fixed voice lines by operator – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 25 – Average fixed-line broadband traffic by platform – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 26 – Broadband penetration by technology – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 27 – Dial-up internet subscribers – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 28 – Internet users – 2005 - 2018
      • Table 29 – Total fixed internet subscribers – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 30 – Total fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 31 – Retail broadband revenue – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 32 – Total broadband subscribers by access type – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 33 – Total broadband penetration – 2003 - 2016
      • Table 34 – Share of broadband subscribers by platform – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 35 – Market share of fixed broadband subscriptions by operator – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 36 – Residential market share of broadband access speed – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 37 – Total market share of broadband access speed – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 38 – Forecasts – fixed broadband subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
      • Table 39 – Virgin Media Ireland subscribers – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 40 – Virgin Media Ireland revenue – 2006 – 2009; 2013 - 2016
      • Table 41 – Cable broadband subscribers –2002 - 2016
      • Table 42 – DSL access provision by type and operator – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 43 – Eir retail broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 44 – DSL subscribers – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 45 – VDSL connections – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 46 – Proportion of VDSL connections by access type – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 47 – Eir fibre broadband subscribers – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 48 – Fixed wireless broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 49 – Wireless hotspots and access points - 2007 - 2016
      • Table 50 – Proportion of bundled services, by type – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 51 – Virgin Media Ireland bundled service subscriptions – 2015 - 2016
      • Table 52 – Statistical overview of Ireland’s broadcasting market – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 53 – Proportion of homes by reception method – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 54 – Proportion of pay TV and FTA households – 2003 - 2016
      • Table 55 – Proportion of digital and analogue households – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 56 – VoB subscriptions – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 57 – Virgin Media Ireland subscribers – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 58 – Virgin Media Ireland revenue – 2006 – 2009; 2013 - 2016
      • Table 59 – Historic - Satellite TV antennae and home penetration – 1992 - 2009
      • Table 60 – Satellite TV antennae and home penetration – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 61 – Sky TV subscribers by bundled type – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 62 – Operator blended ARPU – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 63 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1995; 1997; 1999 - 2009
      • Table 64 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
      • Table 65 – Mobile subscribers (not incl. mobile broadband, M2M) – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 66 – Mobile retail market revenue, voice and data – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 67 – Mobile share of subscribers by operator – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 68 – Operator share of subscribers (excl. M2M and broadband) – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 69 – Mobile share of revenue by operator – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 70 – Prepaid versus postpaid share of subscribers – 2000 - 2016
      • Table 71 – Proportion of prepaid subscribers by operator – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 72 – Mobile voice traffic – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 73 – Mobile data traffic share by technology – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 74 – Data use per subscriber – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 75 – SMS messages sent – 2000 - 2018
      • Table 76 – SMS and MMS messages sent per subscriber – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 77 – SMS and MMS revenue – 2012 - 2015
      • Table 78 – MMS messages sent – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 79 – Dedicated mobile broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 80 – Mobile broadband market share by operator – 2010 – 2016
      • Table 81 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2016; 2018; 2021
      • Table 82 – European roaming charges – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 83 – European data roaming charges – 2014 - 2017
      • Table 84 – Annual mobile numbers ported – 2005 - 2016
      • Table 85 – MTRs by operator – 2010 - 2013
      • Table 86 – Mobile subscriber market share by technology – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 87 – 3G SIM cards in use by type – 2011 - 2016
      • Table 88 – M2M connections – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 89 – Vodafone Ireland mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 90 – Vodafone Ireland fixed-line subscribers – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 91 – Vodafone Ireland mobile service revenue – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 92 – Vodafone blended ARPU – 2006 - 2008; 2010 - 2011
      • Table 93 – O2 mobile financial data (historic) – 2007 - 2014
      • Table 94 – O2 mobile data statistics (historic) – 2007 - 2013
      • Table 95 – O2 ARPU, blended, prepaid and contract (historic) – 2006 - 2013
      • Table 96 – O2 subscribers (historic) – 2006 - 2014
      • Table 97 – Meteor Mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 98 – Meteor Mobile services revenue – 2006 - 2010; 2012- 2017
      • Table 99 – Meteor Mobile annualised blended ARPU - 2006 – 2014
      • Table 100 – Meteor Mobile prepaid and contract ARPU - 2013 – 2016
      • Table 101 – 3 Ireland registered subscribers – 2006 - 2016
      • Table 102 – 3 Ireland active subscribers – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 103 – 3 Ireland financial data – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 104 – 3 Ireland revenue by sector – 2013 - 2016
      • Table 105 – 3 Ireland annualised ARPU – 2013 - 2016
      • Chart 1 – Market revenue share by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors – 2002 - 2016
      • Chart 2 - Unbundled loops and access lines – 2005 - 2016
      • Chart 3 – Fixed-line and mobile voice traffic in minutes – 2008 - 2016
      • Chart 4 – Fixed voice subscriptions and teledensity – 2005 - 208
      • Chart 5 – Total broadband subscribers by access type – 2002 - 2016
      • Chart 6 – Virgin Media Ireland broadband, phone, cable TV subscribers – 2006 - 2016
      • Chart 7 – DSL access provision by type and operator – 2002 - 2016
      • Chart 8 – Wireless hotspots and access points – 2007 - 2016
      • Chart 9 – TV households by type (cable, satellite, pay) – 2008 - 2016
      • Chart 10 – Virgin Media Ireland cable TV subscribers – 2006 - 2016
      • Chart 11 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2018
      • Chart 12 – Mobile market revenue, voice and data – 2005 - 2016
      • Chart 13 – Mobile share of subscribers by operator – 2006 - 2016
      • Chart 14 – Mobile share of revenue by operator – 2006 - 2016
      • Exhibit 1 – EU – The New Regulatory Framework (NRF)
      • Exhibit 2 – Access and the local loop
      • Exhibit 3 – 3G licence results – June 2002
      • Exhibit 4 – Multiband frequency award process - 2012
      • Exhibit 5 – WDMDS licences: operators, spectrum and fees – 2005

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