Ireland's newest mobile telephone network, Meteor Mobile Communications Ltd, was officially launched in February 2001. Meteor, a venture between Western Wireless International and a consortium led by RF Communications, is Ireland's third mobile telephone network. Existing mobile operators are Eircell (a subsidiary of eircom) and Esat Digifone (a subsidiary of BT and Telenor).

Meteor was finally granted its operator's licence, issued pursuant to Section 111 of the Postal and Telecommunications Services Act 1983 (as amended), in June 2000 following lengthy legal proceedings. In June 1998 the Office of the Director of Telecommunications Regulation (ODTR) announced that Meteor was the highest ranked applicant. However, the ODTR's decision was appealed to the High Court by Orange Communications Ltd on the grounds that the licence had been awarded unfairly. In May 2000 the Irish Supreme Court upheld the ODTR's original decision to rank Meteor as the highest ranking applicant.

The director of telecommunications regulation amended Meteor's licence earlier this year to allocate additional spectrum to Meteor. All mobile network operators now have identical spectrum allocations.

For further information on this topic please contact David Sanfey at A & L Goodbody by telephone (+353 1 649 2000) or by fax (+353 1 649 2649) or by e-mail ([email protected]).

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