3UK and T-Mobile in 3G network share deal

James Middleton

December 18, 2007

2 Min Read
3UK and T-Mobile in 3G network share deal

UK mobile operators 3 UK and T-Mobile said Tuesday they have signed an agreement to combine their 3G access networks, leading to almost complete population coverage for 3G services across the country.

The operators claim the deal is the world’s largest known active 3G network sharing agreement and will give both carriers an improvement to urban in building coverage over the next two years.

The deal will also deliver substantial cost savings as well as environmental benefits.

Although masts and the 3G access networks are being combined, each company’s core network and T-Mobile’s 2G network will not be shared. Both parties will retain responsibility for the delivery of services to their respective customers and use their own frequency spectrum.

A 50:50 joint venture company called Mobile Broadband Network has been set up and will supervise the creation and operation of the joint network on behalf of both companies.

Resultant plans to decommission over 5,000 duplicate sites from both carriers’ combined existing cell site portfolio will result in significant savings in rent, transmission and other cell site operating costs. Together with the lower future capital expenditure requirement, the combined savings are estimated at £2bn over ten years.

Martin Garner, director of Wireless Research at industry analyst Ovum, said: “Network sharing has the potential to change the economic model of operators and make a reality of high-quality, high-speed mobile broadband – better, faster and more economically than could otherwise be achieved.

“Shared opex and capex considerably improves the economics and enables a more practical route to better network coverage, and in particular in-building coverage. Our research shows that the number of 3G users can be expected to grow by over 240 per cent over the next four years.”

Recent network sharing articles:

Vodafone creates Indian network sharing company

Backhaul a burden for wireless ops.

Vodafone, Orange to share 3G networks

About the Author(s)

James Middleton

James Middleton is managing editor of telecoms.com | Follow him @telecomsjames

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