Tuesday 20 August 2019

Eir preparing for September launch of 5G

Eir chief Carolan Lennon. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Eir chief Carolan Lennon. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Eir is planning to launch its 5G mobile network in Ireland in September, according to multiple industry sources.

The country's biggest operator has put plans in place for a major launch within the next 12 weeks, with September targeted as its ideal date.

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Eir will launch with 5G- capable smartphones and faster services in Dublin and other Irish cities.

It looks set to become the first mobile 5G operator in the country, with rival operators yet to confirm the rollout of their own commercial 5G networks this year.

Three Ireland has not yet selected its network provider, while the country's largest mobile operator, Vodafone, is continuing with pre-rollout testing.

Sources within Eir say that the only remaining obstacle to a September announcement is a final push to get its network systems in place.

A spokesman for the company declined to comment on Eir's plans.

5G mobile networks are expected to open the door for new services such as 'smart-city' infrastructure and self-driving cars.

Aside from faster internet speeds, 5G transmissions can allow for near-instantaneous response times, considered important for safety and travel services, where a half-second delay can be dangerous.

Eir was the first operator to launch 4G in Ireland in 2013, pipping its major rivals.

Its sister network, Monaco Telecom, recently switched on Europe's first national mobile 5G network.

Chief executive Carolan Lennon recently outlined new investment plans for the company's mobile network, pledging to "match Vodafone".

Eir has recently been the centre of some controversy around its proposal for a cheaper alternative to the State's National Broadband Plan rural rollout.

Lennon recently told TDs that the operator could provide an alternative broadband service for €1bn in taxpayer funds, compared with a sum of between €2bn and €3bn likely under the current State-aided plan.

The Government dismissed Eir's pitch as unrealistic.

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