Combined mobile operation to offer ‘super network’
Chief executive says deal will benefit customers
Three Ireland chief executive Robert Finnegan. Photograph: David Sleator
The company’s chief executive, Robert Finnegan, said the deal announced yesterday was a natural next step for Hutchison Whampoa-owned Three, which has been operating in the Republic since 2005.
If it gets the go-ahead, the deal will create a business with 37.5 per cent of the State’s mobile market and about two million active customers.
Mr Finnegan said this would provide it with a platform from which to compete aggressively for new businesss which, he said, should in turn benefit consumers.
He pointed out that being part of the Hutchison Whampoa group will give it the financial clout to invest in developing its network and in competing for customers with rivals Vodafone and the Eircom-owned Meteor and E-Mobile.
Part of the aim is to combine both companies’ infrastructures to create a “super network”. Both already claim to have over 90 per cent coverage of the Republic.
Mr Finnegan said that Three plans to invest in equipping the combined network with fourth-generation mobile technology, which will mean much faster broadband, with speeds of up to 150 megabytes a second.
“That will be particularly good news for people living in rural areas of the country,” he added. A number of regions outside the main cities and towns do not have access to up-to-date, fixed-line broadband services.
Mr Finnegan claimed that the packages currently offered by Three are the most competitive in the market and said that these would be offered to all its customers.
Three expects that the process of combining the two operators’ systems and infrastructure will take up to two years.
Over that time, it will phase out the O2 brand, which has been a feature of the Irish market since 2002.