5G race hots up as Eir launches new platform in 10 cities and towns
Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford among first counties to avail of new tech
Eir said its initial rollout is supported by 100 sites and that an additional 100 sites would come on stream in the coming weeks. Photograph: Maxwells
Eir has become the second mobile operator to launch a 5G network in the Republic. The telco said its new 5G (fifth generation wireless) platform has gone live in 10 towns and cities.
The new technology represents the next generation of mobile connectivity, succeeding the current 4G and older 3G systems, and offers users faster speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second (mbps), compared to just 10-20mbps now.
The drive for faster speeds reflects the spike in demand for video- and music-streaming services.
Eir said its initial rollout is supported by 100 sites and that an additional 100 sites would come on stream in the coming weeks, bringing coverage to Athlone, Bray, Ennis, Letterkenny, Sligo, Tralee and Trim.
A further 100 sites would also be added to the network early in the new year, bringing the total number of towns and cities covered up to 20.
The race to map the country with the new technology is hotting up, with rival Vodafone announcing a similar launch just two months ago.
However, because 5G technology has a shorter range than its predecessors, its cells need to be placed closer together. This means the network needs more sites to cover the same population that is currently using 4G.
Eir claimed it now has the largest 5G network, “with an expansive footprint of 100 5G sites today growing to 200 by Christmas many multiples the number of live 5G sites from any other network”.
“The scale of the 5G coverage confirms Eir’s position as Ireland’s largest investor in telecoms, offering the most advanced fixed and mobile networks and connecting customers across the country at the fastest speeds possible,” it said.
The company said its 5G service will be available to Eir customers on a range of 5G devices including, the Samsung A90 5G, the Samsung S10 5G, the Samsung Note 10+ 5G and the Huawei Mate 20X 5G with prices starting from only €99. Apple has yet to launch a 5G-compatible phone.
“Eir is by far the largest investor in telecoms in Ireland and this launch is a part of our €1 billion capital investment programme to build the very best network experience for our customers,” chief executive Carolan Lennon said.
“Eir is transforming its mobile network and 5G will complement on-going upgrade and expansion of our 4G network, which will bring high voice and high-speed data coverage across more than 99 per cent of the population of Ireland, allowing our customers to access high speed data services on the most expansive 4G mobile network in Ireland,” she added.