Start-up Irish MVNO Clever Communications says it is close to signing a network sharing agreement with an operator, thought to be Vodafone Ireland, and has announced plans to launch commercial services in the summer of 2006. Clever was the first start-up to be designated a batch of the new 089 phone numbers set aside for MVNOs in April this year. Former Digifone executive Barry Maloney is Clever’s chairman, while another former Digifone executive, Niall Norton, has been installed as a director of the fledging cellco. Maloney’s capital venture firm is the single largest shareholder in the company, with a stake of around 50%. Norton says that the company is very close to securing its MVNO partner, after which it will begin recruiting the 100 or so staff it plans to enlist in its first year. Clever will target residential and small business consumers, and plans to invest around EUR100 million in the launch of services.