Right now no network in the UK can match the value for money of current 3 and T-Mobile tariffs. On the other hand, few networks have such limited network coverage either - so what if they worked together to solve this problem…
That was the stunningly logical, sensible and therefore wholly surprising news to break today: 3 and T-Mobile will share their 3G networks 50:50 to create the World's largest and most comprehensive mobile broadband network.
In real terms, the duo will set about this by utilising one another's masts (a current estimated total of 13,000) and where they overlap masts will be redistributed to other parts of the country, saving 5,000 masts - a benefit to the environment and a sizeable reduction in eye-sores. The venture will also save both telcos an estimated £2bn by 2017 while the end user will benefit from an estimated 98 per cent UK 3G signal coverage by the end of 2009 - stunning stuff.
Jim Hyde, T-Mobile CEO, said: "3G is a transforming technology, but this will be the first time that a 3G access network in this country is able to achieve both the reach and capacity to meet the needs of the future." Hyde dismissed the theory that the move was done simply to enable T-Mobile to purchase 3 at a later date (though, personally speaking, I wouldn't rule this out).
Interestingly, this deal isn't new. Rival network operators Vodafone and Orange unveiled a similar plan in February to share their network infrastructures, but little hard fact about the venture has emerged since.
All-in-all then, this looks like a classic case of the Win, Win scenario - except for O2 that is…