herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Dublin West: Mobile firms begin to get message on low quality of network signals

Mark O'Dwyer who has no phone coverage in his store
Mark O'Dwyer who has no phone coverage in his store "Campbell Jewellers" Citywest Shopping Centre
Mark O'Dwyer who has no phone coverage in his store "Campbell Jewellers" Citywest Shopping Centre

A major mobile phone network reboot is planned for Dublin West.

As a result residents in places like Saggart, Rathcoole, Brittas and Newcastle, who are Vodafone customers, will all benefit from better phone coverage in 2015.

Phone provider Vodafone will roll out 4G in Saggart this year and have pledged to improve it in Rathcoole.

Residents and business owners have been complaining about poor phone signal and 3G coverage in the area west of the M50 for a number of years.

Improvement

Last January, a Clondalkin Area Committee on South Dublin County Council (SDCC) passed a motion with the aim of improving the situation.

The committee agreed to writing to a number of phone providers, "asking that they expand the quality of their network coverage in Newcastle, Rathcoole, Saggart and Brittas".

A reply from Vodafone, which was seen by the Herald, stated that "network refresh plans" were being rolled out in areas in west Dublin in 2015.

In Newcastle for example, the reply read that the quality of the 2G, 3G and 4G coverage there was "good," and that the network there would be refreshed this year, improving the 3G network.

The 2G, 3G and 4G coverage were rated from poor to medium to good.

In Saggart, Vodafone said the 4G coverage was poor but that the existing "Dublin Phase 1 site" would also be refreshed, improving the 3G there and giving new 4G coverage.

However in Brittas, both the 3G and 4G were rated by Vodafone as "poor," and the reply to the council stated that while the network would be refreshed here, there were "no 4G improvements planned" in 2015.

A spokeswoman for SDCC said that all correspondence regarding the January motion had been issued and that the council "will pursue the matter with relevant providers."

UPC also received a letter from the council and they too replied.

However, they stated that the company provided TV, broadband and telephony services and that "any future mobile offering from UPC will be over the Three mobile network as UPC does not operate its own mobile network".

Business people said they have been affected by the network issues over the last number of years.

Mark O'Dwyer, who works in Campbell Ronan Jewellers in Citywest Shopping Centre in Saggart, says that phone coverage has been a problem.

"You have to leave the shop and go out to the front door to make a call.

"I've worked here for a year and the network has always been bad," said Mr O'Dwyer.

"My mobile phone at the moment has no signal," he added yesterday.

Wi-Fi

He welcomed the development saying it was be "great news" for the area.

He said that he uses wi-fi and various mobile phone applications to communicate instead of relying on the phone signal.

Phone users would have previously used 3G on their phones when not connected to wi-fi, but last year 4G became available in Ireland.

It allows users to download data ten times faster. Vodafone said that it has the widest 4G coverage of any provider in Ireland.

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