The Irish Independent writes that mobile operator 3 Ireland, which is in the throes of completing an EUR800 million (USD1.04 billion) buyout of rival cellco O2 Ireland from Telefonica of Spain, is preparing to launch a gloves-off price war in the Republic. The Irish operator’s Hong Kong-based parent Hutchison Whampoa is using the buyout plan – dubbed Project Ozone, and currently subject to regulatory clearance – as the platform to launch a challenge to market leader Vodafone. The paper claims that 3 Ireland boss Robert Finnegan is planning to make the Hutch-owned unit ‘the biggest player in the Irish market’. Vodafone Ireland had a 41.3% share of the domestic wireless segment at end-March 2013, compared to 38.4% share for an enlarged 3 Ireland-O2 Ireland, and the latter intends to invest heavily in advanced (4G) technologies and target the lucrative business segment in a bid to trump its rival.
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