Smart Telecom get 4th 3G licence

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COMREG has awarded the last remaining 3G (umts) licence to Smart Telecom. The company will now have a chance to take up the running of the third part of the second tier of licences knows as ‘B’ licences. They beat Eircom & Meteor who are due to merge but submitted separate applications to double their chances and to future proof a situation where competition authority may not permit them to merge, but twice the odds was not enough to allow ComReg award Meteor or Eircom the lucrative 3G spectrum (Smart will get use of 1935Mhz – 1950Mhz & 2125Mhz – 2140Mhz see fig. 1 below ).

This is not a good day for anti mast campaigners (me included). This now means that there are FIVE companies rolling out replica networks, where as a state owned provider would be able to provide national coverage on one network (ie one mast per cell versus 2, 3 4, or now 5 masts in a cell) all in the name of competition that promised cheaper calls. Also UMTS cells are smaller than GSM/GPRS and the very old analogue cell structures, thus 3G in itself requires more masts in smaller cells.

If Eircom or Meteor had won the licence then at least there would have been a 2.5G network to hang the main parts of a new 3G network on. Expect a deal between Smart and O2 on 2.5G roaming (just my guess, a 3Ireland use Vodafone) and a deal on site sharing (in principle not necessarily practice) between and existing mast network owner (ESB or Meteor?) [I have not read the Smart application or seen any of the ComReg terms at this stage].

[figure this 1.]