083 to be prefix for new 3G operator

13 Jun 2005

Licensed 3G operator 3 which is understood to be launching into the Irish market in the coming month has selected ‘083’ as the prefix for its new mobile service, siliconrepublic.com has learned.

We have also learned that when the company, which is owned by Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa, launches in Ireland over the summer months it will do so with 3G handsets from three manufacturers: Motorola, LG and NEC.

In recent weeks a spokesman for the company denied suggestions that the operator, which is live in several countries across Europe including Italy and the UK, is planning to launch its Irish service as late as November. Recent reports suggest that 3’s Irish launch could take place any time within the next month, or by September at the latest.

A spokesman for 3 in Ireland confirmed to siliconrepublic.com that 083 will be the new prefix. “That’s the most natural number for the company to go for because of the obvious ties with its brand name. 3 is also a lucky number for the Chinese.”

In recent weeks 3 was also engaged in a war of words with Vodafone’s Irish division. While the incoming operator already successfully negotiated a roaming deal to allow its customers to roam across its second generation network, a further interconnection deal in terms of SMS and multimedia messaging was far from resolved. However, this morning the 3 spokesman signaled that hostilities had ended. He said: “3 is happy with the progress it is making. Things are moving forward and progressing well.”

In related news, the company revealed this morning that it has appointed Steve Pilkington as its commercial director for Ireland. Pilkington has been overseeing the rollout of the company’s network across Ireland since 2003 and this appointment will give him overall responsibility for 3’s business in the Republic. Prior to working with 3, Pilkington worked in venture capital in London and for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dublin.

By John Kennedy