The Mobile Broadband Timebomb.

€20 a Month Mobile Packages Will Kill The Knowledge Economy.

IrelandOffline calls on minister Ryan and Comreg to stop counting mobile “midband” as broadband.

As the number of 3G subscribers creeps towards 400,000 to almost 1/3 of all the “counted” Broadband subscriptions it is time to get real say Ireland Offline.
3G Mobile is an excellent technology for those on the move who need to check the web or their email. It is part of the plumbing for the Knowledge economy but is not a main pipe.

The Mobile Broadband Time-bomb
Commenting on the situation IrelandOfflline spokesperson Eamonn Wallace said “In the past few years the government has come to rely on the availability of cheap mobile broadband packages to maintain the illusion of ‘Progress on Broadband’ and in order to claim that the enormous Broadband Gap of the mid-decade between Ireland and the developed world was somehow closing. Most operators have launched packages at around the €20 a month mark. The typical claimed headline speed for mobile data is now 7.6mbits/sec”.

These €20 a month packages now account for around 1 in 3 of the broadband connections that are claimed by the government and Comreg in their statistics and press releases. However these packages are ultimately destroying the Broadband market in Ireland because they are carefully price positioned just below eircom line rental prices. eircom also has its part to play in this market destruction by charging the highest residential line rental in the world at €26 a month on top of which it subsequently charges €20 a month for broadband. Unsurprisingly residential customers have dropped fixed lines in their droves and with a fixed line penetration of well under 70% of households (down from nearer 90% in the 1990s) Ireland now has the lowest residential penetration of land lines in the developed world said Wallace.

Unsustainable
Wallace continued “Mobile networks cannot continue to offer this loss making and cross-subsidized data services at these price points. Nor can they ever offer anything close to the performance of fixed line and cable networks because of the nature of mobile technology itself. Mobile broadband is a shared resource between any (unknown) number of clients, each sharing a small piece of the total”.

This is a lose-lose scenario for everybody.
IrelandOffline call on Eamon Ryan to stop counting mobile broadband in his Broadband PR releases and to follow the OECD measure used in international comparisons (which also excludes mobile for performance reasons). We call upon Comreg to do the same in the overall interests of the majority of stakeholders in the telecommunications industry. Mobile data is a useful infill technology, we all acknowledge that. The official pretense that it is suitable as a primary connection method for business is a great disservice to all stakeholders in the Irish Broadband Market.

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2 Responses

  1. Couldn’t have said it any better myself. As I listened to Eamonn Ryan yesterday on Today FM he kept on dodging the quesition about fixed lines and whether he thought wireless soloutions were the answer to the broadband situation. Wireless is great but it’s not the answer and shouldn’t be promoted as so.

  2. Steve Warsop says:

    Excellent article Eamonn. How about Ireland Offline publishing information on the web site? Facts are hard to argue with, even for government ministers. If all information published on the web site credited the sources and you publish the methodology then perhaps the Irish media would be able to help the cause more easily too.

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