Mobile phone operator 3 Ireland plans to open 28 of its own stores around the country by the end of next year.

The company says the new '3Stores' will create more than 200 new jobs and will involve an investment of up to €15m.

3 says it will open the outlets in 'prime locations' in shopping centre and main streets.

Eight stores will open before Christmas, with a flagship store in Dublin. Stores in Cork and Waterford will open next month.

3 operates one of the country's third generation mobile licences and began operating last year.

It is owned by Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa group.