Ireland - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Ireland’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the fixed-line, mobile and broadband 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;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Mobile subscribers and ARPU;
  • Broadband market forecasts;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE, 5G).

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster

Current publication date:- March 2019 (18th Edition)

Executive Summary

Ireland progresses with national broadband tender

Ireland’s telecom market has been invigorated by the economic recovery seen during the last few years, emerging from a period in which it had been held back by low broadband uptake, reduced investment among operators as lower spending among consumers. Operators including eir, enet and Vodafone Ireland have extensive fibre-based networks deployments in pace aimed at providing 1Gb/s services, while the government is also promoting its National Broadband Plan by which all premises are expected to receive a service of at least 30Mb/s by 2022. This Plan, requiring a state investment of up to €600 million, will greatly boost the adoption of IP-delivered content, including e-government, e-health and e-learning. Although only a consortium including enet was in a position to bid for the tender in November 2018, the government is confident that the Plan can be achieved to schedule.

The mobile market is dominated by Vodafone Ireland and 3 Ireland which have a similar market share. They are followed at some distance by the incumbent telco, eir, which has about 17% of the market by subscribers. There is room for a small number of MVNOs, the largest of which is Tesco Mobile. Although the number of dedicated mobile broadband subscribers has fallen since 2016, mobile broadband use, supported by extensive LTE networks, remains popular among consumers, particularly since the introduction of flat-rate data plans. LTE forms an integral part of the government’s national broadband strategy.

The broadband market has also developed steadily in recent years, supported by an improved investment climate for the key players, as well as by government efforts to facilitate wholesale access. In late 2018 the regulator published three decisions on wholesale access pricing resulting from its Broadband Market Review.

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 and 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 broadband and mobile subscriber forecasts.

Key developments:

  • National Broadband Ireland remains sole bidder for National Broadband Plan tender;
  • Ireland-France Cable-1 (IFC-1) system secures additional finance;
  • Eir requests to close copper infrastructure in some areas upgraded with fibre;
  • Regulator rules that eir make fibre networks available to altnets;
  • Vodafone launches a commercial NB-IoT service, makes its first 5G call;
  • Regulator revises strategy to manage radio spectrum;
  • Vodafone Ireland completes national LTE network upgrade project;
  • VDSL connections grew 8.5% in the year to September 2018;
  • Vodafone Ireland and SIRO launch the 'Gigabit Hub Initiative';
  • Casey Cablevisión acquired by Virgin Media;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to Q3 2018, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q4 2018, 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

Henry Lancaster
February 2019

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

    • Country overview
  • Telecommunications market

  • Regulatory environment

    • Historical overview
    • Regulatory authority
    • Telecom sector liberalisation
    • Privatisation
    • Interconnect
    • Access
    • Leased lines
    • Fibre access
    • Number Portability (NP)
    • Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
  • Fixed network operators

    • Introduction
    • Eir
    • BT Ireland
    • Smart Telecom
    • Other operators
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
    • International infrastructure
      • Submarine cable networks
      • Satellite networks
  • Broadband market

    • Introduction and statistical overview
      • Market analysis
      • National Broadband Plan
      • Government networks
      • Regional infrastructure
      • Wholesale bitstream
      • Broadband statistics
      • Forecasts – broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
    • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • Alternative operators
      • VDSL
      • Vectoring DSL
    • Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • Eir
      • SIRO
      • Sky Ireland
      • Other developments
    • Broadband Powerline (BPL)
    • Wireless broadband
      • 1.7GHz band
      • 10.5GHz band
      • 3.5GHz band
      • Digiweb
      • National Fixed Wireless Point to Multipoint Licences (FWPMA)
      • Other developments
      • Other bands
      • Wi-Fi
      • Worldwide Interoperability of Microwave Access (WiMAX)
      • Wi-Fibre
      • Internet via satellite
  • Mobile communications

    • Market analysis
    • Mobile statistics
      • General statistics
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • Analogue networks
      • Digital networks
      • Mobile voice
      • Mobile data
      • Mobile broadband
      • Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • Regulatory issues
      • Spectrum regulations and spectrum auctions
      • Roaming
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • Mobile termination rates (MTRs)
      • Wideband Digital Mobile Data Services (WDMDS)
      • Network sharing
      • Machine-to-Machine (M2M) networks
      • Internet of Things
    • Major mobile operators
      • Vodafone Ireland
      • O2 Ireland (historic)
      • Eir
      • 3 Ireland
      • MVNOs
    • Mobile content and applications

List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – Ireland – 2018 (e)
  • Table 2 – Telecom sector retail revenue – 2012 - 2018
  • Table 3 – Market retail revenue annual change by fixed, mobile and broadcasting sectors – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 4 – Retail and wholesale revenue by sector – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 5 – Market revenue share of fixed, mobile and broadcasting subscribers – 2002 – 2018
  • Table 6 – Unbundled loops and access lines – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 7 – Annual ported fixed-line numbers – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 8 – Indirect access lines: CPS and WLR – 2006 - 2018
  • Table 9 – Fixed-line and mobile voice traffic in minutes – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 10 – Fixed-line share of retail revenue by major operator – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 11 – Eir financial data (historic) – 2001 – 2007
  • Table 12 – Eir financial data (year to June) – 2009 – 2019
  • Table 13 – Eir revenue by sector (year to June) – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 14 – Eir subscribers by sector – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 15 – Smart Telecom financial data (historic) – 2003 – 2005
  • Table 16 – Historic - Fixed voice subscriptions in service and teledensity – 1995; 1997; 1999 – 2009
  • Table 17 – Fixed voice subscriptions and teledensity – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 18 – Market share of fixed voice lines by operator – 2012 – 2018
  • Table 19 – International internet bandwidth – 2000 – 2016
  • Table 20 – Average fixed-line broadband traffic by platform – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 21 – Broadband penetration by technology – 2006 – 2017
  • Table 22 – Broadband penetration of households by technology – 2013 - 2018
  • Table 23 – Dial-up internet subscribers – 2005 – 2016
  • Table 24 – Internet users – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 25 – Total fixed and mobile broadband subscribers – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 26 – Total fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration – 2002 – 2018
  • Table 27 – Retail broadband revenue – 2014 - 2018
  • Table 28 – Total broadband subscribers by access type – 2002 – 2018
  • Table 29 – Share of broadband subscriptions by platform – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 30 – Market share of fixed broadband subscriptions by operator – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 31 – Residential market share of broadband access speed – 2012 - 2018
  • Table 32 – Total market share of broadband access speed – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 33 – Forecasts – fixed broadband subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 34 – Virgin Media Ireland subscribers – 2006 - 2018
  • Table 35 – Virgin Media Ireland revenue – 2006 – 2009; 2013 – 2018
  • Table 36 – Cable broadband subscribers –2002 – 2018
  • Table 37 – DSL access provision by type and operator – 2002 - 2018
  • Table 38 – Eir retail broadband subscribers – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 39 – DSL subscribers – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 40 – VDSL connections – 2013 - 2018
  • Table 41 – Proportion of VDSL connections by access type – 2014 - 2018
  • Table 42 – FttP connections – 2016 – 2018
  • Table 43 – Eir fibre broadband subscribers – 2013 - 2018
  • Table 44 – Vodafone Ireland fixed broadband subscribers – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 45 – Fixed wireless broadband subscribers – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 46 – Wireless hotspots and access points - 2007 – 2018
  • Table 48 – Operator blended ARPU – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 49 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1995; 1997; 1999 – 2009
  • Table 50 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 – 2019
  • Table 51 – Mobile voice subscribers (not incl. mobile broadband, M2M) – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 52 – Mobile retail market revenue, voice and data – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 53 – Mobile share of subscribers by operator – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 54 – Operator share of subscribers (excl. M2M and broadband) – 2014 – 2018
  • Table 55 – Mobile share of revenue by operator – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 56 – Prepaid versus postpaid share of subscribers – 2000 – 2018
  • Table 57 – Proportion of prepaid subscribers by operator – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 58 – 3G SIM cards in use by type – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 59 – Mobile subscriber market share by technology – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 60 – Mobile voice traffic – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 61 – Mobile data traffic – 2014 – 2018
  • Table 62 – Mobile data traffic share by technology – 2014 – 2018
  • Table 63 – Data use per subscriber – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 64 – SMS messages sent – 2000 - 2019
  • Table 65 – SMS and MMS messages sent per subscriber – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 66 – SMS and MMS revenue – 2012 – 2015
  • Table 67 – MMS messages sent – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 68 – Dedicated mobile broadband subscribers – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 69 – Mobile broadband market share by operator – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 70 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2009 – 2018
  • Table 71 – Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 72 – European roaming charges – 2007 - 2016
  • Table 73 – European data roaming charges – 2014 – 2017
  • Table 74 – Annual mobile numbers ported – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 75 – M2M connections – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 76 – Market share of M2M connections by operator – 2016 – 2018
  • Table 77 – Vodafone Ireland mobile subscribers – 2006 – 2018
  • Table 78 – Vodafone Ireland mobile service revenue – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 79 – O2 mobile financial data (historic) – 2007 – 2014
  • Table 80 – O2 mobile data statistics (historic) – 2007 – 2013
  • Table 81 – O2 ARPU, blended, prepaid and contract (historic) – 2006 – 2013
  • Table 82 – O2 subscribers (historic) – 2006 – 2014
  • Table 83 – Eir mobile subscribers – 2006 – 2018
  • Table 84 – Eir mobile services revenue – 2006 - 2010; 2012- 2018
  • Table 85 – Eir mobile annualised blended ARPU - 2006 – 2014
  • Table 86 – Eir mobile prepaid and contract ARPU - 2013 – 2018
  • Table 87 – 3 Ireland registered subscribers – 2006 – 2018
  • Table 88 – 3 Ireland active subscribers – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 89 – 3 Ireland financial data – 2007 – 2018
  • Table 90 – 3 Ireland revenue by sector – 2013 – 2018
  • Table 91 – 3 Ireland annualised ARPU – 2013 – 2018

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Market revenue share of fixed, mobile and broadcasting subscribers – 2002 - 2018
  • Chart 2 - Unbundled loops and access lines – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 3 – Fixed-line and mobile voice traffic in minutes – 2008 – 2018
  • Chart 4 – Fixed voice subscriptions and teledensity – 2005 - 2018
  • Chart 5 – Total broadband subscribers by access type – 2002 - 2018
  • Chart 6 – Virgin Media Ireland broadband, phone, cable TV subscribers – 2006 – 2018
  • Chart 7 – DSL access provision by type and operator – 2002 – 2018
  • Chart 8 – Wireless hotspots and access points – 2007 - 2018
  • Chart 9 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2019
  • Chart 10 – Mobile market revenue, voice and data – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 11 – Mobile share of subscribers by operator – 2006 – 2018
  • Chart 12 – Mobile share of revenue by operator – 2006 – 2018
  • Chart 13 – Proportion of prepaid subscribers by operator – 2008 – 2018
  • Chart 14 – Mobile subscriber market share by technology – 2013 – 2018
  • Chart 15 – Mobile broadband market share by operator – 2010 – 2018
  • Chart 16 – 3 Ireland financial data – 2007 – 2018
  • Chart 17 – 3 Ireland annualised ARPU – 2013 – 2018

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – Access and the local loop
  • Exhibit 2 – 3G licence results – June 2002
  • Exhibit 3 – Multiband frequency award process – 2012
  • Exhibit 4 – WDMDS licences: operators, spectrum and fees – 2005
  • Exhibit 5 – 3 Ireland spectrum concessions
  • Exhibit 6 – Virgin Media mobile subscribers –2015 - 2018

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Paul, May I congratulate you on a very successful and enjoyable afternoon with the Minister. In providing the roundtable discussions between government and industry, it highlighted the strong interest by stakeholders in Broadband and its implementation but it also presented us with other issues and opportunities that we need to address.

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