T-Mobile and 3 join forces to create UK's biggest 3G network

T-Mobile and 3 estimate that their network share will save the operators around £2 billion over 10 years; a saving which should in turn benefit their customers who could pay less for mobile broadband services in the future.

Although masts and 3G access networks will be combined in the 50:50 joint venture, T-Mobile and 3 said that 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.
  The two companies expect to have 98% of the whole population of the UK on HSDPA networks by 2009 in what will be the most extensive HSDPA network in Europe.
It puts both companies in pole position to usher in an era of cheap mobile broadband, with both companies expecting to pass on their savings to consumers.

A spokesman for T-Mobile said: ‘The likelihood is that, yes, it will result in even better value for consumers. We will be able to bring out more and better services faster and cheaper.'
The two companies expect to do away with 5,000 masts as part of the deal.
It follows a similar network share agreement between Vodafone and Orange which was signed earlier in the year but has failed to pick up momentum as both sides have negotiated over the value of their relative assets.

In contrast, T-Mobile and 3 have agreed on all aspects of the deal after a memorandum of understanding was made in the summer. The network share plan will start from 1 January when the two networks will start being stitched together. 3 has the broadest 3G coverage in the UK, followed by T-Mobile.

It has also put O2 as the odd-man out in network share alliances, and the operator with the weakest 3G network as the hype around mobile broadband looks to be becoming a reality.

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