Figures from Ireland’s telecoms regulator show that less than one in 15 people are buying 5G mobile service in Ireland, putting the technology at risk of becoming an expensive failure.
Only 392,000 of the 7.9 million mobile subscribers in Ireland are 5G, despite the operators’ aggressive marketing efforts.
Ireland’s three largest mobile networks claim to have more than 80pc of the population covered with 5G, having hit the Irish market over two years ago.
Operators here paid 78 million euros for 5G licenses in 2017. Last year, they had to stop charging premiums for the technology due to poor reception. But newly released Comreg figures show that even when it’s offered for free, Irish consumers largely don’t care.
Last year, research from Ericsson revealed that most Irish people don’t know what the benefits of 5G are.
The network giant reports that less than a fifth of people with 5G phones have signed up for a 5G plan.
Current 4G services, available on much cheaper mobile plans, offer speeds of up to 100Mbs, which is considered more than enough for even the most data-hungry services on smartphones and tablets. .
5G has been touted as an enabling technology for services such as self-driving cars and remote surgery, both of which have not made it into mainstream society.
That has left Irish operators unable to explain what 5G is useful for, other than home broadband. But earlier this week, Ireland’s biggest mobile operator was forced to admit that it was cutting off 5G mobile broadband customers to use the service as a home broadband alternative. Vodafone said to Irish independence that it has cut off customers of its “Unlimited Mobile Broadband” 5G service because of what it calls “redundant data” usage.
The company has said that it cannot accommodate the large amount of data usage on the 5G network compared to the fixed line service, because using the same amount of data as the fixed network will affect the “power” and the quality of the service to other users.
The company has also defended cutting off customers on its “unlimited data” 5G plan for using too much 5G data, arguing that it was allowed to do so in accordance with industry practices set forth by Comreg and the US Federal Reserve. Irish advertising standards overseen.
Last week, Sky announced that it would be entering the Irish mobile market, using Vodafone’s network. However, the company has yet to say whether it will offer 5G services or will market “unlimited” services with hidden limitations. A spokesman for Sky was not available to comment on the matter at press time.
Elsewhere, Comreg figures show there are now 372,000 ‘real’ fiber broadband connections directly into people’s homes.
This represents a 50pc increase at the same time last year, making it the fastest growing form of broadband in the country.
Fiber is being deployed by Eir, Siro and National Broadband Ireland.
https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/news/5g-flops-in-ireland-as-fewer-than-one-in-15-subscribe-even-as-tariffs-are-cut-41437870.html 5G fails in Ireland with less than one in 15 subscribers even if tariffs are cut