MWC: Irish “punch above weight”


Irish network operator Meteor will lead Ireland’s delegation at Mobile World Congress 2010 in Barcelona this week. Also, Enterprise Ireland will host 16 Irish start-ups at the event, plus a further 16 partners on their own stands.

The total Irish presence will be around 50 companies, said Enterprise Ireland.

Meteor is looking at femtocell solutions to boost coverage in remote areas and blackspots.

Director of product development Elaine Robinson said Meteor will pay particular interest to femtocells, as well as M2M, in its visit to MWC.

Robinson told Mobile News: “I will personally be looking in much more depth at femtocells, something there has been a lot of hype about in Barcelona over the last few years, although I think, realistically, we are still a few years away from this sort of investment.

“I am planning on meeting with femtocell vendors though to discuss possibilities. Meteor will be looking more closely at M2M, another big area of potential and more specifically what it means for operators and what challenges it might bring in the coming year.”

Robinson said Meteor is mindful, like every network operator, of coming network capacity issues. “The thing for us is how we bolster our 3G network. We launched a bit further behind other operators in Europe and so we were always aware of what was happening one step ahead of what we were doing ourselves.

“Compared to others, the network we are deploying does have a lot of capacity already and so there is no huge investment currently being made,” she said.

Robinson also said Meteor will take particular interest in smartphone systems.

“There is a lot of hype surrounding Windows Mobile 7 and Android handsets, both of which are going to be important in 2010.”

Meteor has exclusive distribution of the HTC Hero in Ireland until March 10. It is the number-three network operator in Ireland, with 20 per cent share of the market.

Meanwhile, Enterprise Ireland will host a number of young local start-ups, with turnovers of less than €1 million, and a series of small but better established companies with turnovers of less than €40 million.

Enterprise Ireland senior development advisor Robert Bushnell said: “Ireland punches well above its weight in terms of innovative SME companies with exciting products and with a high potential to grow internationally. Compared to countries with similar profiles (Denmark, Sweden, Israel), Ireland is competitive in this arena.

“The stand is about helping companies access key buyers, so they can grow sales, internationalise and see the competition. Enterprise Ireland’s overseas offices will be bringing operators from around the world to meet the client companies. Some companies are doing better in third and developing markets, where mobile is the only way to access the internet.”

Worldwide sales in 2008 of Enterprise Ireland client companies in the mobile area were around €310 million.