BT Ireland

From Wikicompany

BT Communications Ireland Limited




Phone: +35 3 (0)1 4325000
Fax: +35 3 (0)1 4325800
Address: Grand Canal Plaza, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, Ireland


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Parents: BT Group
Subsidiaries: Ireland On-Line


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BT Communications Ireland Limited a subsidiary of the BT Group, is a telecommunications and internet company in the Republic of Ireland. The company was formerly called "Esat Telecommunications Limited".

The company's main business is in:

  • Fixed line business in Ireland
  • Internet access services
  • Prepaid accounts and cards for voice

The company's main network is built along the Iarnród Éireann rail network, completed in 1999, and while it does not currently install telephone lines its main competitor is Eircom. BT Ireland owns the ISP Ireland On-Line. BT has recently begun offering "single billing" accounts to residential customers, meaning they no longer need a fixed-line account with Eircom to access services.



The company was founded in 1989 by Denis O'Brien, and was originally known as Esat Telecommunications Limited, or Esat Telecom.

The name Esat originally came from Esat Television Limited, a television company set up by O'Brien in 1986 which owned a stake in "The Shopping Channel", broadcast on the Sky Television platform from May 1989 to July 1990, after which the company collapsed. The name Esat - said to be an abbriviation of "Éireann Satellite" - would become much more associated with telcommunications in Ireland however.

Esat Telecom applied a number of times for a telecommunications licence to the Department of Communications and was finally granted a limited one in March 1993. The company officially launched its sevices on 1994-04-20.

The company was the first domestic competitor to Bord Telecom Eireann (now Eircom), and after initally reselling leased lines from that company used "autodiallers" to route calls onto its network. These devices proved controversial, with Telecom threatening legal action and the Department contending that these were a breach of Esat's limited licence. However an Esat complaint to the European Commission was upheld, and eventually in 1997, the new Director of Telecommunications Regulation (now called Comreg) regularised Esat's position by ordering Telecom to provide a service to switch calls onto Esat's network.

In 1996, Esat Telecom, in conjunction with Telenor, bid successfully for the second GSM mobile telecommunications licence, against five other consortia. This became known as Esat Digifone.

On 1997-11-07, Esat Telecom Group plc held an inital public offering and was listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange, and NASDAQ Stock Market.

Originally the company targeted just corporate customers, however from 1998-12-01, when the Irish telecommunications market was fully deregulated, domestic customers were also targeted, under the Esat Clear brand name. 1,300 customers signed up before it had even launched.

In 1999, Esat entered the Internet Service Provider market, initially through the purchase of EUnet Ireland, which became Esat Net. However it it was the aqcuistion of Ireland On-Line from An Post that year which made Esat the biggest ISP in the country for a time. Also in 1999, Esat bid for Cablelink Limited, the cable and television company owned jointly by Telecom and RTE. However they were defeated in this by NTL.



Esat Digifone (now O2 Ireland), a GSM mobile phone network which was the first competitor to Eircell (now Vodafone Ireland) (then an Eircom susbidiary) was originally a joint venture between Esat Telecom and Telenor, however when Esat was sold to BT, the mobile division became part of BT Wireless, which was evenutally spun off as mmO2.


Acquisition by BT

In 1999, relations became tense between Esat and Telenor over how Esat Digifone, their mobile joint venture, should be operated. Telenor tried to remove Denis O'Brien as chairman of Esat Digifone and remove the Esat name from the company. Esat for its part retaliated by threatening to sue Telenor, and making repeated offers to buy the Norwiegen company out.

Eventually, in November 1999, Telenor bid for the entire share capital of Esat Telecom Group plc as a way of solving the situation. The bid was rejected by the Esat board and so became a hostile takeover attempt. In order to defend this, January 2000, British Telecommunications plc (now BT Group plc made a friendly takeover offer for the company which was backed by the Esat board. Esat became a wholly owned subsidary of BT and was delisted from the stock market.

Following the company's acquistion by BT, the company was rebranded as Esat BT, and replaced its own logo with the BT piper. (Ironically, BT itself dropped the piper logo shortly after, meaning that Esat BT also used a different logo to its parent).

It was announced in late 2004 that from April 2005, the name of the company would change from "Esat BT" to just "BT". It was expected that the name might cause a little controversy, because the ultimate holding company of the BT Group was until 2002 British Telecommunications plc, and from 1980 until 1991 the group traded as "British Telecom". Companies containing the words "Britain" or "British" often receive some hostility because it can be interpreted as the company counting the UK and Republic of Ireland as one whole, which is disliked by many people in the Republic of Ireland.

All company names in the Esat BT Group were offically re-registered with the Companies Registration Office, Ireland as BT in March 2005. On 2005-04-12 the company officially rebranded to BT Ireland.



  • Review of the Year Part I (Jan- April) -
  • HP man joins BT as head of IT networking - Ireland Online
  • Carphone Warehouse second after Tele2 deal -
  • ENN Year in Review 2005: The broadband saga continues -
  • News In Brief -
  • For the record 15 December -
  • Smart's 3G cash is backed by Quinn funding -
  • Mobile phone penetration hits 100pc for first time -
  • Free broadband for Eircom staff - The Sunday Times
  • Garda digital radio system put out to tender - TMCnet

Image:Wikipedia-small.png Wikipedia article about BT Ireland (search). This article uses material from that article.