3 Ireland postpones 4G launch until New Year

9 Dec 2013

Mobile network operator 3 Ireland, owned by Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, has said it is postponing its rollout of 4G services until the end of January 2014. Previously, the cellco’s parent had targeted a pre-Xmas launch to entice users to sign up to its new advanced services. No reason has been given for the delay, although it is of note that the parent group is currently seeking antitrust approval for the up to EUR850 million (USD1.2 billion) acquisition of fellow carrier O2 Ireland from Telefonica of Spain. The deal was agreed in June this year.

From launch, 3 Ireland is looking to provide 4G mobile coverage to around 60% of the Irish population in Galway, Limerick and Waterford, and 40% in Dublin and Waterford. The Irish Independent quotes a spokesperson for 3 Ireland as saying: ‘Users with 4G ready devices, in 4G coverage areas, will be able to download a software update and will then be ready to use the service, which will offer data speeds ten times faster than at present.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, national PTO Eircom announced the launch of the country’s first 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, when its Meteor Mobile and eMobile units went live with the service in September this year. The cellco is targeting 40% population coverage by the year-end. Meanwhile, Vodafone Ireland’s 4G network went live in six cities and 23 towns across south-east and south-west Ireland in October.