Hutchison Whampoa is in line to win a third-generation (3G) mobile licence for 50.7 million euros (about HK$347 million) in Ireland, its sixth in Europe. The company, which plans to launch its first 3G network this year in Britain, could gain synergies from using the same resources, analysts said. On Wednesday, the Irish Government said there were three applicants - Hutchison, Vodafone and BT Group - for its four auctioned 3G licences to be granted in June. They will launch 3G services by 2004. The two-class licences would cost between 50.7 million euros and 114.3 million euros. The class A licence, which requires the holder to have a faster roll-out, has a spectrum access fee of 27 million euros and 12.7 million euros up-front fee. Sources at Hutchison said it applied for a class A licence. It is understood its two rivals applied for class A and B licences. The Irish Government would allot different licences through a 'beauty contest', but it would give priority to those that applied for just one licence. Hutchison owns the entire stake in the licence. Hutchison is required to cover 80 per cent of the population and potentially extra spectrum to carry a mobile virtual network. Mobile penetration rate in Ireland was about 75 per cent last year. Morgan Stanley said: 'We view the company's bid as mildly positive but note that Ireland has a population of only 3.8 million.' It does not expect Hutchison to pursue a licence in France in September given the network capital expenditures. Hutchison has indicated it does not plan to participate in the French auction without a partner. A spokesman declined to comment. 'We are happy about our current 3G footprints. We will only consider adding licences if there are potential synergies for our existing business,' the spokesman said.