Ireland gets first 4G network as Eircom goes live with LTE

While Eircom's mobile brands became the first to offer eMobile and Meteor LTE, Vodafone is hot on the company's heels with its own 4G launch.

Irish telco Eircom has become the first in the country to launch a 4G service, but it won't be long until it has competition in offering LTE services.

Eircom switched on its LTE network on Thursday, and has begun selling 4G packages through its eMobile and Meteor brands. Consumers can expect real-world speeds in the region of 20Mbps to 25Mbps, the company said.

Its 4G network now covers the capital Dublin, as well as the towns of Carlow and Athlone — around 30 percent of the population. Eircom plans to extend that to 43 percent by the close of the year.

To stimulate demand, Eircom is giving away 4G data for free until March next year, and won't be asking consumers to pay any extra on top of their normal 3G packages for LTE connectivity after that.

Vodafone, meanwhile, announced this week that it will launch its own 4G network next month, and will start selling a data-only package from mid-October.

It will roll-out the network in Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Galway, Waterford, Limerick, and large towns in the south east and south west of Ireland before the end of the year, and will also introduce 4G smartphone plans in the coming months. Prepay 4G will be available from the start of next year.

Vodafone customers on Vodafone Red and Vodafone Super Red and businesses on Red Business and Red Business Super will get 4G connectivity without a price premium, Vodafone said on Wednesday.

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