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BT has agreed to assist 3 Ireland in a new development to bring 7.2 Mbps mobile broadband services to customers across the country.

The new €44 million (£34.6 million) contract builds on a 2003 agreement which saw the telecoms provider assist in infrastructural development of 3's third generation network.

New fibre-based upgrades will include a backhaul that will be capable of delivering 14.4 Mbps mobile broadband by 2009 and 16 Mbps in the longer-term, reports.

"As the leading provider in the Irish mobile broadband market, with more customers using 3's network than any other, we're delighted to be driving Ireland up the broadband league tables," said 3 Ireland's managing director Robert Finnegan.

The key development set out in the contract will be the microwave transmission of data from BT's fibre-optic network to 3's regional transmission sites.

Earlier this month, BT announced that it had signed a managed access contract with O2 to further enhance the latter's mobile broadband network in the UK.

Mobile broadband: compare the latest packages here.

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