Mobile companies to be given extra bandwidth to handle Covid-19 surge in calls

Mobile phone companies are being given extra radio spectrum bandwidth due to the increase in mobile phone and broadband use due to Covid-19

The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) is providing additional capacity for mobile phone and broadband provision due to the steep increase in the use of mobile networks.

“Given the extraordinary growth in usage of mobile services, ComReg is moving at pace to provide mobile operators with the flexibility to deploy additional radio spectrum, where this can be of immediate use," ComReg Commissioner, Jeremy Godfrey, said.

Half of Irish households do not have a fixed telephone line and instead rely solely on their mobile phone for communication. One in five households is dependent on wireless internet.

"ComReg will continue to engage with industry and support telecoms companies to ensure that our telecoms networks continue to meet users’ needs during these extremely challenging and evolving times."

Extra radio spectrum in the 700 MHz and the 2.6 GHz bands will allow mobile network operators to cater for the increase in voice and data traffic over their networks, as well as liberalising the use of the currently licensed 2.1 GHz band so that it can be used for 4G and other technologies, rather than just for 3G. ComReg said this will be a temporary measure in response to the current situation.

Mobile phone companies interested in using the extra bandwidth will have just two business days to respond to its proposals. ComReg plans to make its final decision as soon as possible thereafter so that this radio spectrum can be released quickly and our networks can provide more capacity to cater for the rise in demand for voice and data services.