Report: Setanta in MVNO talks with 3 Ireland

Irish pay TV broadcaster Setanta could become the third company to set up a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) on the "new" 3 Ireland network after reports emerged this week that the company is in talks with the Hutchison Whampoa-owned operator.

According to the Irish Times, the two companies are understood to have been in talks on a deal over the past two months and Setanta hopes to launch a mobile service by the end of this year.

The reports about Setanta follow earlier speculation that Carphone Warehouse and Liberty Global-owned cable operator UPC also plan to take advantage of new MVNO rules in this market following the European Commission's approval of Hutchison Whampoa's €850 million ($1.15 billion) takeover of O2 Ireland from Telefónica.

Hutchison Whampoa agreed to allow two MVNOs on the 3 Ireland network in order to secure anti-trust approval. Eventually, one MVNO must also be given an option to buy spectrum in order to become a full network operator.

This was to allay regulatory concerns that a reduction in the number of mobile operators from four to three would have a serious impact on consumer prices and competition.

3 Ireland competes with Vodafone Ireland and the incumbent operator Eircom in a very competitive market environment. Eircom sells mobile services under the Meteor and eMobile brand names and is also the only provider of any kind of multi-service bundling as it allows mobile plans to be bundled together with triple-play TV, broadband and fixed voice plans from Eircom.

The Irish Times noted that Vodafone Ireland is the largest mobile player while the merger of 3 and 02 would create a major competitor with a 37 per cent market share.

The European Commission has also recently approved Telefónica Deutschland's planned €8.6 billion ($11.7 billion) acquisition of KPN's German mobile business E-Plus. Telefónica committed to sell up to 30 per cent of the merged company's network capacity to up to three MVNOs.

For more:
- see this Irish Times article

Related Articles:

Report: Carphone Warehouse plans to launch Irish MVNO
Germany's anti-trust body raises concerns over Telefónica/E-Plus plan
Moody's: M&A may not bring desired benefits for operators
Vodafone, ComReg slam EC for clearing O2 Ireland acquisition
EU clears Hutchison's €780M acquisition of O2 Ireland, with concessions

Suggested Articles

Sprint said it will offer discounted service to customers age 55 and above.

Unlimited data plans placed a strain on carrier networks last year, but according to OpenSignal the carriers met the challenge.

Verizon plans to bring 5G to four U.S. cities this year and hopes to have standards-based equipment in place for some of those deployments.