Irish former fixed line monopoly Eircom intends to enter the Republic’s 3G mobile broadband arena next week using its mobile arm Meteor’s network to launch an own-brand commercial service initially in Dublin and Cork, but with services to follow in Galway, Limerick, Waterford and other cities during the course of the year. The Sunday Business Post quotes an Eircom official as saying: ‘We expect to cover half the country’s population by the end of the year … This is a very fast growing market, and our customers want a combination of fixed and mobile services.’ The paper questioned whether the launch of an Eircom product would undermine Meteor’s own 3G offering ‘Broadband to Go’ – launched in March this year – but the spokesman dismissed the suggestion, saying ‘Nobody’s out to eat each other’s lunch’. Nevertheless he conceded it was the first time the telco had operated a ‘two-brand’ strategy for a single product.
The new service will offer download speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, with expected average speeds of between 2.5Mbps and 3Mbps. Eircom faces a challenge from the Republic’s largest 3G broadband providers 3 Ireland, with 133,000 customers, Vodafone (121,000 customers) and O2 (98,000 customers). Meanwhile, Eircom’s Meteor subsidiary has just under 10,000 mobile broadband customers.