A small but enterprising Irish company has become the first in the world to make and sell a special phone SIM card for use in Apple's latest gadget the iPad.

MAXroam, a Dublin based telecom firm which employs 16 people, has trumped giants like AT&T and Vodafone by announcing it will make and market the SIM's and roaming data plans when the special iPad 3G goes on sale later this month.

The iPad went on sale in the U.S. at the weekend and is said to have sold an estimated 500,000 units already. The next version of the iPad, which includes a 3G option for browsing the Internet when there is no WIFI signal, will appear in late April.

Buyers will need a SIM card to connect to the 3G network and that's where Ireland's MAXroam comes in. They will sell their new SIM along with a data plan to almost any country in the world.

'The iPad is the Holy Grail of computers but no carrier has yet announced plans to sell a micro-SIM,' said MAXroam's Pat Phelan.

MAXroam specializes in selling SIM's for phone owners roaming outside their home country - providing one consistent price no matter where calls are made, so that customers using the Internet abroad are never hit with massive charges.

No final prancing on the service has been announced yet. But the gutsy Irish company is already well ahead of the game.