Just thought I would create a new thread as this was getting very far off topic:

To give you some background about Irish mobile networks:

Telecom √Čireann (now Eircom) launched TACS mobile service under the brand Eircell back in 1984.

It used 088 + 6-digits initially and then moved to 7-digits and had up to about 200,000 subscribers at its peak.

TACS has been shut down for a number of years and towards the end the network was most definitely getting no money spent on it as the quality of service was gradually deteoriating. Customers were ported to GSM i.e. moved to 087 and 086 keeping their old 7-digit numbers.

The system never even had basic services like Caller Display, nor did its number even display on GSM phones or fixed lines..

The advent of SMS messaging in particular wiped it out completely as it was not able to provide this service. Business users also switched to GSM early as TACS didn't provide reliable data communications and roaming was not really possible, other than to Northern Ireland.

Prefix: 087
Eircell GSM (Now Vodafone) went live in July 1993
Initially GSM 900 later expanded to 900/1800Mhz and 3GSM / UMTS since late 2003.
Displays as "IRL Voda" "Vodafone IE" "IRL-Eircell" or "EIR-GSM"

Prefix: 086
Digifone (Now O2 Ireland) went live in March 1997
GSM 900/1800Mhz network & 3GSM / UMTS since late 2003
Displays as "Digifone" or "IRL-DIGI" or "O2-IRL"

Prefix: 085:
Meteor Communications Ltd. went live in Feb. 2001.
GSM 900/1800 Mhz Network
No 3GSM plans announced.
Displays as METEOR

Prefix: 083:
Hutchison 3G Ireland branded as "3"
3G / UMTS network... no pre-exsisting GSM network.
System tests on air since late 2003.

Full number portability is possible between networks so the above codes no longer have the same signifigance.

3GSM / UMTS networks are on-air but only on a pre-commerical rollout test basis at the moment to a limited number of selected customers.

Eircom (the main fixed line provider), who sold Eircell to vodafone a number of years ago when they were privatised signed a non-compete contract with Vodafone Ireland as part of the deal. That contract expires in 2004 and it's widely expected that eircom will aggressively launch into the 3G market. Unlike elsewhere in Europe Ireland's 3G licences wern't auctioned-off to the highest bidder.

Various virtual operators are also around. A few years ago one launched services by piggy-backing on Eircell GSM but was never commercially sucessful.

It should be an interesting year though as the various 3G networks start to come online and as Eircom starts to try and re-enter the mobile market.

[This message has been edited by djk (edited 01-01-2004).]