Vodafone to spend €500m in investment spree
Vodafone is to kick off a massive investment round in its Irish network with €500m in new cash earmarked for the next three years.
The capital would bring to €750m the company's network buildout in Ireland over a five-year period and €1.3bn over a seven-year period.
The money is to be spent on increasing the geographical reach of its 4G service and upgrading to 4.5G in cities and large towns. The investment is being seen as a precursor to preparation for 5G planning, with a next-generation network due after 2020. The operator claims that early results on its 4.5G network is delivering speeds of 1,000Mbs, equivalent to the highest speeds available on fixed-line fibre broadband services at present.
The company will also unveil a new 'internet of things' network, designed to let millions of new devices connect to one another in cities and towns. The operator's chief technology officer, Madalina Suceveanu, said Ireland will be "among the first European countries to bring" the technology to market.
"Achieving gigabit speeds on our mobile network and the launch of NB-IoT in November 2016 are important milestones for Vodafone Ireland," said Ms Suceveanu.
The company is aggressively expanding its reach here while its sister-firm, Siro, also attempts to demonstrate network ambition ahead of the National Broadband Plan decision.
Vodafone's move comes as Irish mobile operators find themselves embroiled in controversy over moves to limit the amount of mobile data available after the EU abolishes roaming charges in June.
While Three and Meteor have said they will not match domestic data allowances for EU roaming, Vodafone insists that it will offer the same allowances at home and abroad.