Wednesday 23 October 2019

The Big Tech Show: A frank chat with Eir CEO, Carolan Lennon

Carolan Lennon, CEO of Eir, Photo: Steve Humphreys
Carolan Lennon, CEO of Eir, Photo: Steve Humphreys
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

While attention rests on the National Broadband Plan, Eir still holds the keys to many of Ireland’s biggest telecoms problems.

This week, Adrian sits down with company chief executive Carolan Lennon to ask some of the key questions.

On the National Broadband Plan, Adrian asks whether Lennon whether knowing that Eir would collect close to €1bn from rental of its poles to the National Broadband Plan was a factor in the company withdrawing from the tender to oversee responsibility for the whole project. Lennon responds in detail about why Eir pulled out.

Adrian also asks whether, with €400m of new debt being taken on by Eir, the company is again being sucked into a pattern of getting overstretched and over-leveraged.

Other topics are discussed at length. For instance, Eir has also promised 99pc geographic mobile 4G coverage of the country. Is this really possible without tens of thousands of new masts?

Does Lennon believe that there’s room in the Irish market for three fully-fledged mobile operators?

Are the days of the landline and home phones numbered? In an era of WhatsApp and Skype, is there a long term future for traditional mobile phone numbers?

The two also discuss potential uses for 5G and the long term future for telecoms companies. And Lennon says that she believes the copper network that Eir owns is on the way out.

Lennon even reacts to a suggestion from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week that the government recently considered renationalising Eir.

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