Imagine has revealed plans to roll out 150Mbps 5G connections to 1 million Irish homes over the next 18 months, marking a €300 million investment into the company’s broadband network. This investment comes at a time where companies such as Sky continue to expand their broadband networks to become increasingly competitive. The beauty of Imagine’s network is that it works over 5G, so there is no need for any actual infrastructure to be built onto a house. It allows the company to be dynamic in its implementations, though 5G technology may prove to make that difficult.
5G’s largest benefit over 4G isn’t speed, it’s latency. Lower latency will be most noticeable when gaming, as it means that your connection takes less time to reach the server and for your device to receive a reply. The range on 5G towers is lower as well than 4G towers, so it will typically be used in urban population centres, something that Imagine hasn’t really expanded into in the past. The company has primarily focused on rural Ireland where they supplied 4G connections up to 70Mbps in the west.
Imagine isn’t the only Irish network provider looking to bring 5G to the country. Vodafone has already announced its intentions to launch 5G throughout its active markets, though without Huawei. In the 2016 census, roughly 2 million households were recorded, so Imagine hopes to bring 5G connections to roughly half of all households in the country, a tall order even with a €300 million investment. It working out would be a major step in the right direction for Irish telecoms, and would help to fulfil the goal of the National Broadband Plan.