Eir ‘very happy’ with Huawei as supplier for 5G network

Chinese technology giant is accused by US of industrial espionage

Eir chief executive Carolan Lennon said the company is "very happy" to use Huawei equipment for its new 5G network in the Republic, despite US claims that the Chinese company poses a security risk.

The Chinese technology giant is at the centre of trade tensions between the US and China and is accused by the US of industrial espionage.

“We’re very happy with them as a supplier. They have great kit,” Ms Lennon said, while noting the UK had decided not to ban Huawei from the rollout of its 5G network.

The UK government said on Tuesday it would allow Huawei a limited role in building its 5G networks.


The US wanted UK prime minister Boris Johnson to ban Huawei completely, arguing that Beijing could use the company's equipment to steal Western secrets, a claim the Chinese company vehemently denies.

While announcing that Eir's 5G network, launched last year, had expanded to 20 cities and towns, Ms Lennon said the radio access equipment was being supplied by Huawei while the "more sensitive" core network equipment was being supplied by Sweden's Ericsson.

She said Eir was now the State’s largest 5G operator with its network covering 25 per cent of the population.

The new technology represents the next generation of mobile connectivity, succeeding the current 4G and older 3G systems, offering users faster download speeds.


Ms Lennon also said the company’s new mobile brand GoMo had exceeded expectations with 100,000 customers by December last year, six months ahead of target. The no-frills, sim-only €10-per-month service is aimed primarily at young people.

Separately, Eir announced that it had passed the first 50,000 premises with its new fibre broadband network, which is now available in 28 urban areas. Ms Lennon, who took over as chief executive in 2018, has refocused the company on winning back market share from rivals in urban areas.

The company’s broadband market share in Dublin is currently less than 30 per cent, which is low for a market incumbent.

To reverse this, it is planning to spend €1 billion on its network, €500 million of which will go towards the rollout of fibre.

Ms Lennon said the fibre rollout will ramp up considerably in the coming months with the company expecting to pass between 60,000 to 70,000 premises per quarter.

"Ultimately this ambitious project will stretch to 1.4 million homes and businesses," she said, "Once completed, Eir's fibre network will cover 84 per cent of the premises in Ireland with 90 per cent served by fibre-to-the-home," Ms Lennon said.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times