Eircom unit Meteor Mobile has switched on commercial 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in Cork as it strives to hit its target deadline of 40% population coverage by the end of this year. The former monopoly became the first telecoms operator in the Republic to launch a 4G network when it went live last month. It is spending EUR330 million (USD451 million) to deploy LTE over the next five years, aiming to hit 90% population coverage within three. Following the latest switch on, Meteor says that existing customers in Cork as well as would-be users, can access mobile data speeds averaging 10Mbps-15Mbps. The carrier’s next generation network is also available in Dublin, Athlone and Carlow, with Limerick and Galway to follow soon.
To connect, they need a 4G-enabled handset (or MiFi device, dongle) and a SIM that can be bought online or in one of its retail outlets. Meteor says that to date, some 50,000 of its subscribers have already purchased a suitable handset. The cellco is offering 4G to post-paid users only at this stage, and is drawing them in with the offer of unlimited data on all plans until 1 March 2014. Finally, Meteor says that it aims to launch pre-pay 4G tariff plans in 2014.