Who Came First – Voda or 3

Three made a big announcement this week saying they are the first operator to launch HSDPA in Ireland, but Vodafone have now said they have already done it, back in November!

Three launched its new high-speed mobile broadband network on Monday in Dublin with the bold statement "Three Ireland has become the first mobile operator in Ireland to launch a HSDPA mobile broadband service." which should be available nationwide by January 2007.

Vodafone however don’t agree, "[Three] has incorrectly claimed to be the first mobile operator in Ireland to launch a high-speed mobile broadband network. Vodafone Ireland went live with a 3G broadband network on 14 November and currently has in excess of 5,000 devices operating on this 3G broadband network."

Going back through the files it seems Voda did indeed announce it first, but kept it quiet with the following paragraph buried in an interim results announcement:

"Vodafone Ireland is delighted to announce today that its 3G broadband service is available nationwide with 59% population coverage. Vodafone Ireland’s 3G broadband technology will allow customers broadband mobile access to email, the Internet and other on-line services at speeds of up to 1.4Mbps – up to four times faster than previous 3G technology. Vodafone was the first company in Ireland to launch 3G, and the first to make prepaid 3G services available to customers. We look forward to continuing to lead innovation in this sector with the launch of 3G broadband services, initially to business subscribers, followed by our entire customer base."

Three Ireland’s managing director Robert Finnegan said the launch of their service would benefit customers "who can access their favourite video clips, TV or websites even faster than before. The mobile broadband speeds we’re offering match or exceed those available in the Irish market from either fixed line or mobile operators,". Which is true as Voda’s top speed reaches only 1.4MB per second, while Three Ireland claims its new product will reach speeds of up to 3.6MB per second, and also cover 80 percent of the population compared to Voda’s 59%.

So it would seem that although Three weren’t the first HSPDA network in Ireland, they certainly are the fastest.