Ireland - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 31 May 2021 Update History

Report Pages: 257

Ireland’s regulator preps for multi-spectrum 5G auction by end-2021

In recent years Ireland’s telecom market has rebounded from a long period in which fiscal constraints inhibited investment in the sector. Significant infrastructure projects are underway, including the NBN which aims to deliver a fibre-based service of at least 150Mb/s nationally by the end of 2022. The renewed optimism has been seen in operator investment in extending fibre-based networks providing 1Gb/s services. The incumbent telco eir is investing €1 billion in infrastructure, part of which is earmarked for its Ireland’s Fibre Network which will deliver a 1Gb/s service to 85% of premises.

The mobile market is dominated by Vodafone Ireland and 3 Ireland, followed by eir. There is room for a small number of MVNOs, the largest of which is Tesco Mobile, though stiff competition and the deployment of low-cost sub-brands by the MNOs has made the MVNO model a difficult proposition and a few players have been forced to exit the market.

The mobile sector is preparing for a multi-spectrum auction later in 2021 which will greatly increase the amount of spectrum available, and so provide a boost for 5G services. The MNOs are rapidly expanding the reach of 5G, with eir alone covering about 57% of the population by March 2021.

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. In addition, the report covers the fixed and wireless broadband markets, together with developments in related technologies such as FttP, powerline broadband, wireless and mobile broadband, Wi-Fi and internet via satellite. Statistics and analyses on the mobile voice and data markets are reviewed, including the recent regulatory issues, a snapshot of the consumer market, and an assessment of emerging technologies and operator strategies. The report also includes a range of subscriber forecasts.

BuddeComm notes that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on the telecoms market. On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, has offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect has been a reduced (and sometimes negative) subscriber growth, which will continue into 2021.

Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • National Broadband Ireland makes progress with the national broadband network;
  • Starlink begins trials of its satellite broadband service;
  • eir expands 5G services to 57% of the population;
  • Regulator rules that eir make fibre networks available to altnets; preps for multi-spectrum auction by late 2021;
  • Vodafone launches a commercial NB-IoT service, extend 5G services to more cities;
  • More operators become retail customers of SIRO’s 'Gigabit Hub Initiative';
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to Q4 2020, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q1 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Vodafone Ireland, O2, eir, eMobile; Tesco Mobile, Virgin Media Ireland, Casey CableVision, Digiweb, BT Ireland, Smart Telecom, Tele2

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