3, Ireland’s largest high speed network, today announced a world-first network advancement at a briefing event on the future of mobile broadband in Ireland.   At the event, 3 announced that it has switched on the world’s first commercial voice and data I-HSPA (Internet High Speed Packet Access) network, making Ireland the first global market to benefit from this new cutting-edge technology from Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN).  The launch of I-HSPA on the 3 network follows a successful trial by Nokia Siemens Networks of the technology in Ireland which is being used as a model to guide the launch of the technology in ten markets worldwide through a range of carriers. This development underlines 3’s position as the leader in mobile broadband and Ireland’s position as a leader in the smart economy. The announcement comes as 3 plans to trial 21 Mbps and 42 Mbps services in Q4 this year.


The deployment of I-HSPA is a significant part of the global standard for bringing Long Term Evolution (LTE) and its associated high-quality coverage and potential for speeds of up to 50MB+ to urban and rural areas in Ireland.  The upgrade will allow users to engage in high-definition video conferencing and online gaming on the 3 network. To date 3 has invested €600 million on its network including €50m upgrading its network to I-HSPA and to ensure it is LTE-ready.


3’s CEO Robert Finnegan welcomed the news saying, “Mobile broadband is developing faster than any other technology and it is becoming the technology of choice for first-class connectivity, leveraging the very best of older technologies like fibre with the benefits of a cost effective mobile solution.   We have chosen to adopt I-HSPA because it has the clearest roadmap for delivering LTE.  As Ireland’s largest high-speed network 3 is at the forefront of technological advances and today we have delivered another first class, world-leading broadband solution and a first for Ireland in global broadband development.”


3’s Chief Technology Officer, David Hennessy commented, “I-HSPA has been developed by Nokia Siemens Networks as part of their LTE roadmap and is the most efficient and cost effective way of delivering LTE on a wireless network.  It is currently in the process of being deployed in 10 other markets including the US and is being trialled in an additional 10 markets. We’re delighted Nokia Siemens Networks selected 3 in Ireland as the test-bed and launch site for a world-leading technology that will drive a significant change globally in the way internet traffic is managed. Our customers nationwide will benefit from a future-proofed solution that will deliver a first-class customer experience for many years to come.”


Beppe Donagemma, Head of Western Europe, Nokia Siemens Networks said, “We are delighted to support 3 in Ireland in its drive to provide efficient mobile broadband to the market, reinforcing Ireland as a world leader in the smart economy. NSN chose Ireland as the launch pad for I-HSPA because of the advances being made here in mobile broadband. I-HSPA is state-of-the art technology enabling fast, streamlined mobile broadband connectivity today with a smooth evolution path to LTE. With this announcement 3 can stay one step ahead in providing first-class services to its customers, positioning  Ireland as one of the most progressive mobile broadband markets in the world.”


The introduction of I-HSPA will also be of huge benefit to indigenous companies and SMEs based in Ireland by enabling them to enter into the burgeoning smart machine market.  The machine to machine (M2M) market is made up of technologies such as smart metering, digital signage, fleet management  and security systems while the machine to enterprise (M2E) market includes ATMs, Cloud computing and corporate APNs. These markets are each expected to grow at the rate of 25% per year in the next five years and access to high speed public wireless data networks is essential to their continued development.


I-HSPA technology is being rolled out across 3’s network nationwide, including National Broadband Scheme areas, underlining the roll-out as one of the most technologically advanced solutions available for rural connectivity.