Ireland’s telecoms regulator ComReg has withdrawn Smart Telecom’s licence to provide high speed 3G mobile services in Ireland. In a press statement, Dublin-based telephone and internet services provider (ISP) Smart Telecom said: ‘The Company was notified last night by ComReg that it believes that the Company has failed to meet certain conditions of its original offer and accordingly that it no longer intends to award the licence to Smart.’ The ISP strongly refutes ComReg’s accusation and action and says it has taken legal advice on how best to proceed, including initiating legal proceedings to enforce the award of the licence.
Smart Telecom was awarded the fourth and final Irish 3G mobile licence in November 2005 and made its initial payment of EUR56.75 million for the licence on 15 December. It has also negotiated a EUR200 million network rollout contract with major equipment manufacturers and arranged a EUR100 million Performance Bond with the banks to underpin the project. Elsewhere, the telco said it was making good progress in the broadband market and was succeeding with plans to install its equipment in eircom’s local exchanges throughout Ireland. The group said it had gained 4,188 new residential broadband customers in January and that it expects this rate to increase as more exchanges are unbundled. Smart CEO Oisin Fanning said he believes Smart will regain the fourth 3G mobile licence, before adding ‘the recruitment of over 8,000 broadband and fixed line customers in January in the face of the ongoing failure and frustrating action of the regulator and the incumbent, eircom, respectively, is evidence itself of the progress we are making.’