Only half of us can get a 4G signal - ComReg
Only half of Irish mobile phone users can get a 4G signal, the telecoms watchdog ComReg says.
The ComReg data flatly contradicts mobile operators' claims of 4G levels exceeding 90pc.
The information has surfaced as Communications Minister Richard Bruton told the Dáil that he will bring a recommendation on the Government's stalled rural broadband plan to Cabinet within three weeks.
Amid fears that the State may be reconsidering its commitment to a rural internet rollout, the telecoms watchdog says that only 51pc of Irish mobile subscriptions currently get 4G.
A 4G signal is often required to access modern data services on a phone or on a computer.
ComReg say that 36pc of users are stuck on a slower 3G mobile connection while 13pc are condemned to a voice-only 2G signal. The disparity in the reception statistics comes after ComReg recently found that Irish operators are in compliance with their mobile licence coverage obligations.
Under telecoms rules here, operators must provide 70pc of the population with 4G coverage, while the voice signal must reach at least 90pc of the population.
However, ComReg's testing is confined to a limited number of public road tests conducted in five Irish cities and along primary national road routes.
Both the regulator and operators say that mobile reception can be negatively affected by impediments such as walls, roofs and windows.
Meanwhile, the secretary general of the Department of Communications, Mark Griffin, is due to tell the Public Accounts Committee today that a National Broadband Plan service in rural Ireland will deliver a "basic" 150Mbs package, far faster than the majority of existing Eir broadband services.
On mobile 4G reception, both Comreg and operators say that 1m machine-to-machine subscriptions may affect 4G usage figures.