The country’s largest mobile operator has 1,951,000 customers compared to 1,967,000 a year ago. It has also marginally increased its mobile customer base by 1,000 from the previous quarter. Five years ago, Vodafone Ireland had 2.24 million mobile customers here, compared to 1.95 million today. But heavy competition at the budget end of the mobile market saw competitors such as Tesco Mobile eat heavily into its prepaid base. However, Vodafone has added 20,000 contract mobile customers as punters opt for high-end devices such as iPhones and Samsung S8 handsets.
The operator’s service revenue declined by 2.5pc year-on-year and by 1.2pc from the previous quarter. However, when mobile termination rates are excluded from considerations, it grew 1.1pc. Areas of service revenue growth were attributed by Vodafone to fixed customer growth. The company now has 264,000 fixed broadband customers, up 6.9pc over the previous year. Broadband subscription figures are likely to grow again due to Vodafone’s part in rolling out fibre-to-the-home broadband in large regional towns. Vodafone is a 50pc stakeholder in Siro, a joint venture with the ESB. The joint venture currently has over 80,000 homes and businesses passed for fibre broadband with a target of 500,000 in coming years.
Executives from Vodafone and Siro say the venture expects a more than 20pc take-up rate in rolled out areas within 12 months of connection. The company declined to release its Irish average revenue per unit (Arpu) figures. However, in six of the eight European markets for which it made disclosures, Arpu fell.
Official figures from Ireland’s telecoms regulator show that Arpu in Ireland is falling on average across all operators.
“We continue to grow the business, expanding customer numbers across both fixed and mobile,” said Anne O’Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland. “We also continue to roll out our Gigabit Hub Initiative with further location announcements coming.”
Simon Hoare MP is backing a new bill that should benefit rural areas including his North Dorset constituency. He praised the Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill in the House of Commons. During the debate he said small shire districts that areaways seeking to be more efficient would benefit greatly from the bill.
He said: “It will be absolutely crucial for the farmer in my constituency who is trying to buy or sell stock and make their submission to the Rural Payments Agency to have fast, reliable broadband of a speed and regularity of service.”
He said it was also important for delivery services in rural areas that are not particularly well served by rural public transport.
Mr Hoare also highlighted the advantages for tourism with promotion of hotel and pub rooms, visitor attractions and interactive tourist information centres in areas where local authorities have reduced support and services.
He pointed out the benefits made possible in education and the advantages of receiving faster films and sports coverage.
Mr Hoare suggested to fellow MPs that they “remind ourselves of the most enormous strides made in broadband provision for all our constituents and constituencies, urban and rural.”
A new community fund will help Dorset neighbourhoods where there are currently no plans for high-speed internet access.
The Superfast Dorset Community Broadband Fund has been set up to support the small number of areas not currently included in any superfast roll-out plans. The ?500,000 scheme enables Superfast Dorset to co-invest with communities by match funding up to half the costs of bringing faster broadband to their neighbourhood. More than 95 per cent of Dorset premises can now take a superfast fibre broadband service – defined as download speeds of 24Mbps or greater.
Cllr Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council1 Cabinet Member for the Natural and Built Environment, said: “Current commercial and Superfast Dorset fibre roll-out plans will leave around just two per cent of Dorset premises without access to a faster connection.
“Technologies such as fixed wireless and satellite broadband can already serve most premises, but we know that some communities would rather pay a share of the costs to bring a superfast fibre solution to their area.
“That’s why we have set up the Superfast Dorset Community Broadband Fund. It allows us to provide the same level of public funding to communities which aren’t included in our fibre roll-out plans.”
Superfast broadband helps make everything happen online much faster than a standard broadband connection. The technology offers download speeds typically several times faster than standard broadband.
- Everyone can be online at the same time
- Download and watch TV and films without buffering
- Make video calls
- Work from home with a faster, more reliable connection
Fibre can now cost the same or less than standard broadband. But speeds don’t improve automatically. Residents and businesses must contact their chosen service provider and ask to switch to fibre broadband to get the faster connection. Check if your property can get fibre or is included in current roll-out plans at www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/superfast. You can also sign up for regular project updates and to receive an email when fibre arrives in your area.
Superfast Dorset is a partnership between BT, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council, the Borough of Poole, Christchurch Borough Council, East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council3, West Dorset District Council4 and Weymouth & Portland Borough Council. The project brings superfast broadband to areas not covered by the commercial roll-out undertaken by BT, Virgin Media and others. Superfast Dorset has already enabled more than 570 roadside fibre broadband cabinets across the county, delivering superfast fibre broadband to more than 80,000 properties.