Ireland's broadband subscribers will soon see a pair of unlikely allies: Vodafone and BT. Once fierce rivals, BT will hand over its broadband customers to Vodafone, according to the company. While the deal still has to gain approval from the Irish Competition Authority, the new venture will enable two thirds of Ireland's consumers to get 24 Mbps broadband download speeds. This agreement instantly establishes Vodafone as Ireland's second-largest wireline broadband operator with more than 84,000 residential and 3,000 small business customers. BT will also provide Vodafone with wholesale broadband services under a seven-year contract.
So what does BT's exit from Ireland's broadband market mean? By exiting the broadband business in Ireland, the U.K. incumbent believes it will be able to better focus on two key growth areas: commercial business services and wholesale broadband services to other competitive carriers by unbundling up to 58 additional telephone exchanges in Ireland.
BT Ireland's CEO Chris Clark was quoted in a Light Reading article as saying that business services were the dominant drive and that consumer broadband represented only 10 percent of the operator's business. "Our core focus has been the corporate market," says Clark. "And infrastructure-based competition hasn't happened in Ireland"
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