Eircom's 4G service goes live in parts of Ireland

Irish telecom company Eircom has launched Ireland's first 4G mobile phone service.

It went live on Thursday to 1.2m customers in Dublin, Carlow and Athlone.

The company said it will be extending the coverage to other major urban centres, including Cork, Galway and Limerick, between now and Christmas.

The company is to become the first operator to offer the technology to the Irish market, through its Meteor and eMobile brands.

Eircom said it hopes to reach 50% coverage by next summer.

4G provides a faster data connection allowing users to watch video, download files and stream music more easily.

Vodafone has announced it will also launch its 4G data service in mid-October.

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