New phone service to 'disrupt' market
UPC is to launch a new mobile phone service in Ireland with its chief executive promising to "disrupt" the Irish mobile phone market.
The move comes after the broadband and cable TV giant signed a deal with 3 Ireland to use its network here.
"Our mobile service is going to disrupt the market here," said Magnus Ternsjo.
He said they were now well-placed to offer a 'quadplay' package – offering broadband, television, home phone and mobile service in one.
The new mobile phone service is expected to launch early next year, according to Mr Ternsjo.
The move had been expected after the European Commission said that 3 Ireland would have to facilitate two new mobile operators here if it wanted permission to purchase O2 Ireland in a €780m deal.
While Mr Ternsjo declined to give further detail about pricing or services, the new mobile operator is likely to offer aggressively generous data allowances as the terms of its deal with 3 Ireland give it guaranteed access to large amounts of broadband capacity.
The move could spark a new data allowance war, with unlimited mobile internet and download usage for ordinary packages.
However, Mr Ternsjo said that UPC may not become a 'full' network operator, owning its own expensive infrastructure in Ireland.
This could come as a blow to the European Commission, which based its decision on allowing 3 Ireland to buy O2 Ireland on the sale of wireless infrastructure to UPC and another future virtual operator.
Meanwhile, the decision that sparked the entry of UPC into the market has drawn sharp criticism from Vodafone, which has said it is considering legal action over the issue.
Vodafone, which is Ireland's biggest mobile operator, said that the move was an "inefficient and ineffective use of spectrum, will distort competition and will discourage investment in mobile networks in Ireland".