SUPERFAST 4G services have arrived in Limerick with Meteor becoming the first mobile phone provider to launch its service in the city.
The new service will give users of compatible smartphones and tablet devices access to data speeds up to ten times faster then on the current 3G network.
The roll-out of the service in Limerick follows a multimillion euro investment in the 4G network locally.
“4G is all about data and its about speed of data and how you can interact with the internet. It’s a significant step forward in terms of technology and the ability to interact online,” explained Niall Dorrian, director of mobile at Meteor’s parent company, Eircom.
According to Mr Dorrian, users who sign up to the 4G service will immediately notice the difference.
“Gone are the days when you see the buffering on the screen where you are streaming and looking at videos on YouTube. Gaming is a big thing now in terms of development and with this sort of speed its just instantaneous interaction,” he said adding that while download speeds are much faster, so too are uploads speeds.
“Whether you are uploading videos of photos to Facebook or Twitter or whatever you are into it all happens a lot lot quicker and it is obviously a very exciting time to have that sort of speed on the go all the time,” he said.
While most smartphones are 4G compatible users will still need to change their sim card to give them access to the new high-speed network.
Meteor says its 4G service will only be available in the greater Limerick city area initially but that it will be rolled out to other parts of County Limerick over the next 18 months.
The company has also launched its 4G service in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Athlone and Carlow - giving it around 40% coverage of the population.
Meteor says only bill-pay customers will be able to access the 4G network initially but that it will roll-out a pre-pay package for customers early in the new year.
The other mobile phone providers - Vodafone, O2 and 3 are expected to launch their 4G services in the coming months.