Meteor Mobile said it added 29,500 customers during the third quarter and ended the quarter with a total of 251,600 customers. The company said this is an increase of 28% over customer additions in the second quarter of this year.

Meteor's Chairman Brad Horwitz said that the company had its strongest quarter of growth since 2001. He confirmed that the rollout of Meteor's network in Dublin is now largely complete and also reported good progress on the completion of its national network.

Meteor Chief Executive Robert Haulbrook said that the company's number portability figures are also strong, with Meteor gaining customers at a four to one ration from other operators.

'A perception of poor coverage had been Meteor's biggest challenge and the biggest challenge for a market that did not offer sufficient competition,' Mr Haulbrook said. 'But our strong subscriber addition figures suggest that a combination of investment in the Meteor network and national roaming have dealt with that issue,' he added.

Meteor's parent, US-based Western Wireless Corporation, last night reported consolidated total revenues of $497m for the third quarter ending September 2004. This was an increase of 24% over the third quarter of 2003.

Consolidated net income for the quarter was $30m, or $0.30 per diluted share. This compares to a net loss of $19m, or $0.23 per diluted share, for the same quarter last year.