Thursday, 24 October 2013

Questions (165)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

165. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the extent to which comparisons have been made with the quality of mobile telephone services here and those available in other European jurisdictions; if it is true that the service in terms of signal has been reduced and the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45549/13]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

An EU Commission comparison of “3G” mobile telephony coverage across the EU member states for 2010, the most recent such study available, ranks Ireland 6th highest for coverage at 99.5% compared to an EU average of 89.9%.

The provision of mobile telephony services is subject to the award of spectrum licences by the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg). In late 2012 ComReg concluded a process to allocate access to radio spectrum for use in the provision of the next generation “4G” mobile telephone services, which are the most modern such services currently available. The award of these licences involves payments in excess of €850 million by the successful applicants and significant additional networks investments to roll out 4G services. Two successful applicants have already announced the launch of 4G services and it is expected that others will roll out similar 4G services shortly.

I am advised that temporary outages or reductions in services may occur in particular areas as 3G networks are maintained or upgraded or as 4G networks are installed or due to temporary faults which can occur from time to time for a variety of reasons. I expect that with the continued significant capital investments being made by mobile operators, the quality of mobile services overall will continue to improve across the country. However monitoring such progress and detailed enforcement of the conditions imposed by the Regulator on service providers are matters for ComReg, which is statutorily independent in the exercise of its functions.