3, Ireland’s largest high speed mobile network, announced today that it now has more than 500,000 customers subscribing to its mobile and mobile broadband services, confirming its status as the fastest growing mobile network in Ireland.

Part of the Hutchison Whampoa group, 3 entered the Irish mobile services market in 2005 and was the first company to launch a high-speed mobile broadband service in Ireland. The business is continuing to grow from strength to strength and earlier this year announced a multi million euro investment to open 28 new stores around the country, resulting in 90 new jobs.  3 will have 50 3Stores nationwide by the end of 2010.

Speaking about the announcement, 3 CEO, Robert Finnegan said: “Surpassing the half a million customer mark is a significant milestone for 3. We are the most ambitious operator in the market and aim to continue to grow our customer base this year through our great value price plans and excellent service. Continuing to grow and invest in technologies to stay ahead of the competition is a focus for our business and we recently switched on the world’s first commercial voice and data I-HSPA (Internet High Speed Packet Access) network. ”

With 26.8 million customers worldwide, 3 is Europe’s leading 3G operator and was the first to offer 3G services to European customers. To date the company has invested more than €600 million in its network, including a €50m upgrade to I-HSPA and to ensure it is LTE-ready.  3 was first to launch mobile broadband in Ireland with a datacard modem in 2006 and the most advanced high-speed network with technology to support speeds of up to 3.6 mb per second. In 2008, the company was appointed by the Government to manage the roll-out of the National Broadband Scheme, providing much-needed connectivity to rural areas.