Vodafone Ireland has launched its first pre-pay 3G service and announced plans to spend EUR1 billion (UISD1.22 billion) on its UMTS network over the next seven years. Vodafone launched data card 3G services in Ireland in July 2004, with post-paid voice telephony following in November. The cellco is Ireland’s leading mobile operator with a 51% share of customers, ahead of O2 Ireland and Meteor Mobile. The operator is ramping up its service offerings ahead of an anticipated influx of competition in the market, with launches from Hutchison Whampoa’s local 3G business and MVNO Clever Communications due later this year. Additionally, budget airline Ryanair and alternative wireline operator Perlico Communications are both investigating the rollout of MVNO services in the Republic, whilst fixed line incumbent eircom is also mulling a return to the wireless sector, having quit in 2001 with the sale of its subsidiary eircell to Vodafone.