Eircom launches new TV service
Company claims product a ‘game changer’
Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte with Eircom chief executive Herb Hribar at the announcement of the company’s new TV service eVision yesterday. Photograph: Maxwells
Eircom has become the first company to offer the elusive quad-play – home phone, broadband, mobile phone and television services – to the Irish market following the launch yesterday of eVision, its suite of television channels.
The company, which for several years has lost ground in its fixed-line business to its main rival UPC, is touting the launch as “a game changer”.
Eircom is offering a starter package of €10 per month for 34 channels, and a free set-top box.
The eVision service, however, is only available to customers who are already signed up to its high-speed eFibre broadband network, which is still being rolled out. The service costs €45 a month and is currently installed in about 50,000 homes.
“We are itching for a fight with our competitors,” said Herb Hribar, Eircom chief executive. “This is the company’s most important announcement in a long time. We intend to start winning back the customers we lost.”
Mr Hribar said the pace of its eFibre rollout was “ahead of schedule” – “eFibre will be available to 600,000 homes around the country by the end of the year,” he said. The company plans to have the service available to more than 1.1 million homes by 2015.
Mr Hribar also said yesterday that eFibre speeds would be bumped in some areas from 70 megabytes per second (mbps) to 100 mbps early next year.
“In areas where we have already rolled out eFibre, 60 per cent of our existing customers have chosen to take it up,” said Mr Hribar.
Relatively low price
The company expects that after nine months, about a quarter of its eFibre customers will have signed up for the eVision television services.
Mr Hribar said the relatively low price point of its television service was not just an initial discount, and that it was sustainable “for as far as I can see”.
“We believe we will get an adequate return at the current price point. It gives us a chance to take the position as value leader in the market,” he said.
UPC is expected to follow Eircom into quad-play, possibly through piggybacking on the mobile network of another operator, but this is not expected to happen until next spring at the earliest.
Eircom has negotiated television content deals directly with some channels, but also through a number of “aggregators” to give it an overall suite of about 80 channels.