Ireland’s sole 3G-only mobile operator H3G Ireland (3) has awarded a EUR44 million (USD68.9 million) contract to BT to expand its network and to deploy faster mobile broadband internet services. The Irish Independent reports that 3 hopes the investment will help it to boost its subscriber take-up for mobile broadband services; it currently has around 80,000 customers, making it the leading player in the mobile internet segment in the Republic. 3 currently competes with Vodafone and O2 in the market and hopes to entice users with what has become a popular product offering. The three cellcos currently have a total of 170,000 mobile broadband subscribers between them. As a result of BT’s upgrade, 3 will be able to support maximum mobile downloads of 7.2Mbps by the end of the year rising to 14.4Mbps in 2008, and ultimately 16Mbps. In the next three years the cellco is looking to increase the number of mobile cell sites by 70 to 770. It is understood BT will link to 3’s mobile masts via a microwave transmission system.