Several of the Irish mobile operators now have mobile broadband offerings and the offerings are getting more and more compelling!
All the operators are using the same Huawei external USB mobile broadband modem. O2 claim that unlike their competitors, their version will have drivers for Windows Vista when they launch.
The data for O2 is speculative as their offering won’t be officially launched until July 2nd but their roadmap, according to O2 spokesman Kevin Heffernan, is to ramp from an initial 3.6Mbps to 7.2Mbps by year end and then 14.4Mbps next year! Also, initially they were to roll out with a 6Gb download cap but it is now looking increasingly likely that this will be revised up to 10Gb.
O2 are saying that they are positioning this to compete with similar offerings from Vodafone and 3Ireland but if I compare these figures to my current Eircom DSL broadband connection, it is: 3mb, â‚¬40 per month (ex VAT), and a 40GB download cap. The biggest difference between the two is the download but I don’t download that much so that shouldn’t be an issue.
As I see it, the O2 mobile broadband product could easily start to replace DSL connections either for home users or for Solo Soho setups. The mobile broadband obviously has the advantage of being mobile so you can take it on the train, for example and work away while traveling! And with Ireland having the most expensive line rentals in Europe (â‚¬9 per month more than the EU average), this is one more nail in the coffin of fixed lines here.
O2 are also rolling out an EDGE network which should be fully rolled out by q1 2008 according to Heffernan. This means wherever the 3.6Gb HSDPA (or 7.2 or 14.4) is unavailable, the modem should fall back to EDGE’s semi-respectable 256kb. This is at least twice as fast as GPRS.
Finally, starting in 2008, O2 will start on building a HSDUA network – this will give upload speeds of 14.4 Mbps eventually!
Are DSL’s days numbered in Ireland