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Ireland - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 15 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 223

Ireland contracts National Broadband Ireland to complete broadband project

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 and lower spending among consumers. This optimism has been seen in operator investment in extending fibre-based networks providing 1Gb/s services, in the government progressing with the national Broadband Plan (with the NBI starting work on the network build in January 2020) and with plans to auction spectrum in a range of bands suitable for 5G services later in 2020.

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 19% of the market by subscribers. 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 broadband market has also developed steadily in recent years, supported by an improved investment climate for the key operators, 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 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 outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. 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 starts work on the National Broadband Plan;
  • eir expands 5G services to 20 towns;
  • Regulator rules that eir make fibre networks available to altnets; aims to publish details of multi-spectrum auction by mid-2020;
  • 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 Q3 2019, telcos’ operating and financial data to Q4 2019, 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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