Three Ireland

Three switches on 5G in Ireland

5G launched at 315 sites, covering 35% of the Irish population.

Three Ireland has switched on its 5G network in Ireland, deploying around 315 base stations, giving a total coverage of around 35% of the Irish population.

Around 500 more are expected to be deployed by the end of 2020, with Three having invested around €100 million in the rollout over the last year and expecting to spend the same again for the next few years to enhance coverage.

Major areas initially covered include urban hubs, like Dublin and Cork, but some rural areas are also included.

“What we expect is by the end of next year we will be well in excess of 50 per cent population coverage and growing,” said Three Ireland’s CTO David Hennessy.

“This is about actually having a very substantive proposition out there for our customers and very substantive service. The jump from 3G to 4G was big, but 4G to 5G is equally as big or even bigger,”

“It is noticeably better even for basic things like just browsing; the absolute immediacy of everything you touch is noticeable. It’s kind of like driving a really good car, you know, it’s reactive, it goes fast, you don’t wait. People will really see the difference with this.”

Three is the last of Ireland’s three major mobile operators to launch 5G, with Vodafone Ireland doing so in September 2019 and Eir following suit just one month later.

Three’s 5G launch was initially scheduled for a similar date but was delayed, primarily due to a switch from Huawei to Ericsson equipment at a late stage in the technology’s deployment.  

Lagging behind by around one year, one would think that Three will have much catching up to do when it comes to the next-generation mobile technology, but the company in fact claims that its initial launch is larger than its rivals’ current deployments. 

Three’s 5G uptake should also receive something of a boost from the release of the new 5G Apple iPhone, expected to hit the market in a few weeks time. 

When it comes to accessibility, Three’s customers on more expensive plans will have access to 5G for free – assuming they have a compatible device. However, lower-priced plans, including pre-paid, will also be able to access 5G for a €5 supplementary charge.  

“We started our 5G rollout with Ericsson last year, building our network to bring customers in both rural and urban areas the best possible experience of 5G from the very beginning, which includes providing superfast broadband to remote areas in Ireland,” said Robert Finnegan, chief executive of Three Ireland and Three UK.

“With our nationwide 5G footprint now in place and a variety of 5G enabled devices on the market, we believe now is the right time to launch. Connectivity is vital to our everyday lives, so we wanted to be the first in the country to offer prepay customers as well as bill pay customers a 5G experience. 5G is transforming how we connect, work, are entertained and how we live our lives.

“Having seen what 5G can do and the latency it provides, I am excited to see the economic developments and opportunities this brings to Ireland as we strive to compete in a global environment where connectivity is crucial.”

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