Vodafone, Meteor vie for first place in Irish LTE race

Ireland's LTE race looks set to be won by either Vodafone Ireland or Eircom's Meteor, as Hutchison Whampoa's planned €850 million ($1.13 billion) acquisition of Telefónica's Irish unit appears to have derailed O2 Ireland's plan to launch LTE services in 2013.

The Irish Independent said O2 Ireland may not launch its LTE services until 2014, while Vodafone Ireland and Eircom's Meteor are expected to launch commercial services in late September or early October this year.

"In light of the recent acquisition with Hutchison Whampoa [3 Ireland], we're not in a position to currently specify a launch date for our 4G services," O2 Ireland CEO Fergal McCann told the paper.

Hong Kong-based Hutchison is in the process of buying rival operator O2 Ireland, but until the acquisition has gained the necessary approvals the two Irish operators are pressing ahead with their existing LTE plans.

"3 Ireland is currently in the testing phase of 4G [LTE] with rollout expected in the fourth quarter of 2013," a 3 Ireland spokeswoman told FierceWireless:Europe. "The O2 Ireland acquisition is subject to competition approval so it's business as usual for both companies until then."

The Irish Independent added that Vodafone Ireland is set to start offering its LTE services in Kilkenny, with Dublin and other cities to follow soon after. Meteor is currently conducting final trials in Dublin, Athlone, Carlow and parts of Galway.

For more:
- see this Irish Independent article

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