While Vodafone and Orange announced a plan to share their 3G networks way back in February 2007 little has emerged other than a rival deal between 3 & T-Mobile. So it's about time we had an update.
Finally providing some cold, hard facts the duo said they plan to share both their 2G and 3G mast sites meaning wider signal coverage with more than half the UK population having access to strong 3G reception once work is completed. Pleasing environmentalists, the partnership also means a reduction of 3,000 masts nationwide within two years while the merger will save costs which 'should' benefit customers.
Against this is news that, despite a full year having passed, the first stage of implementation has yet to begin and no end date for the work was revealed. Talk about snail pace.
Here come the typical CEO quotes:
"This deal will see our two companies work together to ensure our customers benefit from better, deeper and faster mobile coverage in more places, with fewer mast-sites across the country," said Tom Alexander, CEO of Orange UK. "It will be better for our customers, better for our businesses and better for the environment."
Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone UK, did his duty too explaining: "Last year we announced this industry leading initiative and today's announcement focuses on a significant mast sharing program that benefits our customers and the environment, while driving improved efficiencies for our business."
All sounds peachy guys, now get a move on...
Update: Contrary to these enthused quotes it is now being reported that the pair will break off their relationship. We'll keep you updated as we learn more.
Update 2 (17:00) Still nothing official from either Vodafone or Orange suggesting the deal has collapsed. Hold tight for now.