TV3 news report that 3 Ireland will be launching at some stage this week, bringing to four the number of operators currently active in Ireland. After a quick scan of the popular thread on boards.ie, it would seem that packages and phones are to be announced tomorrow with some claiming 2pm as a time.

Earlier speculation had put the launch on the 3rd of August but it would appear, even if the network isn’t launching fully tomorrow, that there will finally be some announcement on pricing and phones. 3 themselves were playing their cards close to their chest and wouldn’t give any/didn’t have any dates to give me when I interrogated one of their call centre staff a few weeks ago.

In other mobile related disasterous news, Eircom has successfully bought the Meteor network. Surely this spells the end for low prices, including the hugely advertised 5cent talk or text offer. Free meteor to meteor texts; how long will it take for those to fall by the wayside? Eircom have promised ‘lower prices and greater competition’ in the mobile market. We have to take that with a pinch of salt. They are, after all, advertising their landline telephony services as something along the lines of ‘great value’. Just when I was thinking of porting to Meteor too… I guess 2pm tomorrow may tell which direction thousands of mobile users will be going.

Hello 3, bye bye Meteor.

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Now that the writing is on the wall (or at least on the website) we can see the pro’s and con’s of going with 3. Some of those which pertain to my own personal usage would be

Pro: €25 for 200 minutes or 100 mins and 100 texts; far cheaper than Vodafone.
Con: Expensive phones; I’d just have to get the Nokia.
Pro: Some inclusive video content, what free content do Vodafone give?
Con: Voicemail access is not free.
Con: No webtext. Furthermore, no solid plans to implement webtext.
Con: Full number portability not possible until middle/end August.
Con: Reletively poor 3G coverage(?), phone would spend most of its time on O2 2.5G.
Pro: I’d finally get rid of my quiet as a mouse Nokia 6600
Pro: Quick delivery of phone once ordered, website quotes next business day.

I think I’ll wait a while… For me, the greatest loss would be the 300 webtexts per month. I probably use at most 80-100 of them (and that’d be a busy month) so it’s time for some humming and hawing. I could get over the lack of free voicemail, it’s not like I spend hours on the phone listening to the automated voicemail robot telling me I have no messages. I’d agree with Tom though, 3 Ireland really need a blog or forum to get the all valuable feedback coming in.

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