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3 and T-Mobile Network Sharing Deal

39 posts in this topic

Posted

I've just seen that 3 and T-Mobile have today announced that they will share their 3G network in the UK. (see here)

The impact of this for a customer is quite exciting - a much better network, and presumably much faster growing. It'll be interesting to see if and how Vodafone and O2 respond.

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Posted

I would love to see all the networks sharing all their towers, less towers, better coverage for everyone... Do networks really need to differentiate on coverage nowadays rather than features, pricing etc?

P

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Posted

I am an Engineer working in the Industry and this deal throws up several problems.

The first being compatability of equipment, 3 use Nokia in the north and NEC in the south. T-mobile use Nokia. None of these vendors can deal with the frequencys allocated to both operators. Most equipment can only handle 2 frequencies at the moment.

Second, T-mobiles 2G network is mainly in the same cabins as their 3G network, these sites wil have to remain, so the only sites to go will be 3's. Also where both operators are already on the same site, the lanlord is likely to stick out for a larger rent when going from 2 to 1 cabin.

Third, most sites are leased on a minimum 10 year contract, if you wish to close a site and it has 4 years to run, then you will have to buy out the remaining years, so the only savings will be in power and the like.

At the end of the day, there are plenty of stumbling block. Just look at the agreement between Vodafone and Orange, this has come to a grinding halt over the fine print.

It will be good for the vendors who will have to supply new equipment to allow this to go ahead, my money is on Ericsson winning that work. It will be good for the Operators profits, but I doubt it will be good for the customer.

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Posted

I thought the idea was to get more 3G coverage not to necesarily close masts? Do 3 have coverage where T don't? and vice-versa?

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Posted

Coverage is no longer the issue really, but capacity.

In most large towns, if you take down a 3G cell, you will probably still get coverage from a nearby site. What allows more customers is the numbers of frequencies and the number of links going into the site.

Most networks are not having problems with the base station side but with the core network end. They have thrown money at upgrading the 3G network, but ignored capacity in the core, with the result that the core is going into congestion. As a result the core is trying to catch up with the 3G capacity.

This deal will lead to a reduction in base stations, but I doubt it will be anywhere near the numbers they propose.

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Posted

Hi Humph,

thanks for the reply, always nice to hear from someone who knows what they are atlking about.

What about coverage outside of large towns - will this deal affect that?

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Posted

Hi Humph,

thanks for the reply, always nice to hear from someone who knows what they are atlking about.

What about coverage outside of large towns - will this deal affect that?

I suspect thats were most of the site share/savings will come. Rural sites do tend to be co located, so the chance for sharing is greater. T-mobile in the past owned their greenfield sites, but sold them to Crown Castle and they are now in the ownership of Gridcom.

I expect the site providers will oppose the site share option or at least were they are aware that it is going on, increase the rent they require. Site providers and landlords will not want to see their earnings fall. In the case of some farmers, masts are the only thing keeping them solvent.

I know one farmer who has all 5 operators on his land, if Orange and Vodafone and T-mobile and 3 combined, then he would see a reduction of around £16000 a year, I am sure he would look to recover that in future negotiations with the combined operators.

The biggest problem I see is that this is very much a one way street, it would be very difficult and expensive to go back, if the partners fall out.

It has yet to be seen what OFCOM's responce will be.

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Posted

Coverage is no longer the issue really, but capacity.

You're obviously not a T-Mobile custome if Coverage is not an issue for you :(

I work in Gloucester City at one of the Hospitals (which are curiously festooned with mobile mast arrays considering you're 'not supposed' to use a moby in a Hospital :D - anyway I digress...). I can get a half decent 3G signal in the middle of the City but a ten minute walk to the Hospital sees the signal drop to 1 bar. Once I go inside, its time for gymnastics-out-the-window to try to sync an email or send a text.

With todays technology it's a stupid state of affairs. The Hospital isn't an old Victorian stone-walled behemoth either. Just a standard brick new-build. It reeeeeally gets on my nips!!

Bring on better coverage, then I'll worry about saving the planet :D

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Posted

Well, I'd guess there'll be a bit of both - reducing duplication, where it exists, and expanding coverage where it doesn't.

I'd also predict that this network sharing deal is a precursor to T-Mobile 'merging with' (i.e. buying) 3UK (and possibly the other 3's too); perhaps it's delayed due to licence restrictions.

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Posted

Well, I'd guess there'll be a bit of both - reducing duplication, where it exists, and expanding coverage where it doesn't.

I'd also predict that this network sharing deal is a precursor to T-Mobile 'merging with' (i.e. buying) 3UK (and possibly the other 3's too); perhaps it's delayed due to licence restrictions.

OFCOM won't allow any of the UK operators to take over any of the other operators. I was working for Vodafone at the time of the Mannersman buy out and the problems it caused were amazing.

At the time mannersman owned Orange and Vodafone were told that there was no way they could retain ownership of Orange, so they had to agree sell Orange, before the deal could go through.

It is yet to be seen if either of these network shares go through, OFCOM still have to approve both and my understanding is that they are not looking like giving approval. At the end of the day, OFCOM want to expand choice, not reduce it, that is why they are releasing a new 3G licence soon, BT are favourites to win that.

At the end of the day, these network shares have nothing to do with the customer, but are totally about cost reductions for the operators.

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Posted

Don't BT own O2?

I can understand the competition regulators being involved tho. None of us want to be manipulated by a massive monopoly charging anything they see fit for shitty services.

I'm just clutching at straws for any hint of T-Mob improving their coverage... :(

:D

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Posted

Don't BT own O2?

Wow! I'd forgotten all about BT Cellnet becoming O2 - but I believe BT sold it years ago and have no stake now.

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Posted

T-Mobile are at the moment increaesing capacity within their network, this is across the country. This involves putting more links into the sites. This will mainly effect data, as this is the big money earner, I believe it is only a matter of time bofore one or more operators stick there voice traffic onto 2G only and use 3g purely as a data network.

There is rollout going on in the T-mobile network, but from what I see it is mainly in the north. There is a swap out program replacing older Ericsson gsm and Nortel gsm equipment with new Ericsson equipment.

O2 are now owned by Spanish operator Telefonica. BT have their own mobile arm, BT Mobile, but this is on Vodafones network.

The reason OFCOM are concerned about these mergers, is the possibility that they will lead to mearger or take over of a network. I believe that should a network attempt to by another network or merge, OFCOM would require one licence to be surrendered. The frame work of the 3G licences does not allow for one operator to hold more than one licence.

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Posted

T-Mobile are at the moment increaesing capacity within their network, this is across the country. This involves putting more links into the sites. This will mainly effect data, as this is the big money earner, I believe it is only a matter of time bofore one or more operators stick there voice traffic onto 2G only and use 3g purely as a data network.

There is rollout going on in the T-mobile network, but from what I see it is mainly in the north. There is a swap out program replacing older Ericsson gsm and Nortel gsm equipment with new Ericsson equipment.

O2 are now owned by Spanish operator Telefonica. BT have their own mobile arm, BT Mobile, but this is on Vodafones network.

The reason OFCOM are concerned about these mergers, is the possibility that they will lead to mearger or take over of a network. I believe that should a network attempt to by another network or merge, OFCOM would require one licence to be surrendered. The frame work of the 3G licences does not allow for one operator to hold more than one licence.

You sure are a handy guy to know. It's good to have you aboard :(

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Posted

You sure are a handy guy to know. It's good to have you aboard :(

I am back at work next week and I will see if there is anything on the rollout for Gloucestershire.

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Posted

I am back at work next week and I will see if there is anything on the rollout for Gloucestershire.

Any news humph??

:)

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Posted

Any news humph??

:)

From what I can see most of the new sites are going in up north at the moment. That doesn't mean that other companies aren't doing roll out in your area.

If I see anything I will let you know.

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Posted

From what I can see most of the new sites are going in up north at the moment. That doesn't mean that other companies aren't doing roll out in your area.

If I see anything I will let you know.

so does this mean that i will be able to get more than one bar of a 2g signal in my hizzzouse then if better coverage is on the way?

Live in bolton and a T-Mob 3G signal is a rearity unless in the town center or major retail parks, work in manchester and i have full bar all the time (due to working next to a mast lol :) )

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Posted

so does this mean that i will be able to get more than one bar of a 2g signal in my hizzzouse then if better coverage is on the way?

Live in bolton and a T-Mob 3G signal is a rearity unless in the town center or major retail parks, work in manchester and i have full bar all the time (due to working next to a mast lol :) )

At the moment most work is going into the 3G network.

But within the 2G network is a lot of very old ericsson base station equipment, this is due to be swapped out and in some areas this has started, but before this can really get going, the BSC's need to be installed in the switches. I understand somewhere close to 4500 sites will be swapped out. This should lead to a better 2G network.

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Posted

At the moment most work is going into the 3G network.

But within the 2G network is a lot of very old ericsson base station equipment, this is due to be swapped out and in some areas this has started, but before this can really get going, the BSC's need to be installed in the switches. I understand somewhere close to 4500 sites will be swapped out. This should lead to a better 2G network.

Cool,

Thanks for the info.

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Posted

bit of an old thread but a couple of things to note about this.

Three has more 3g sites than t-mobile at the moment. the big win for three is 2g roaming will be a lot cheaper for them than it is currently. the win for t-mobile is they are getting better 3g coverage by using existing three base stations. they both win in the fact that the upgrade costs will be reduced.

An interesting point about a takeover bid but i doubt HW will sell any time soon.

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Posted

It is indeed an old thread, but still relevant I hope.

I must admit, I haven't seen any miraculous improvement in T's signal as yet.

:D

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Posted

bit of an old thread but a couple of things to note about this.

Three has more 3g sites than t-mobile at the moment. the big win for three is 2g roaming will be a lot cheaper for them than it is currently. the win for t-mobile is they are getting better 3g coverage by using existing three base stations. they both win in the fact that the upgrade costs will be reduced.

An interesting point about a takeover bid but i doubt HW will sell any time soon.

But the network sharing agreement is for 3G services only. Therefore 3 won't get 2g roaming on T-Mobile, it'll continue to use Orange/O2. I think the win for them is that the costs of maintenance get significantly reduced therefore they might actually make a profit one of these days...

I'm on 3 and in my flat (North London) I get a poor signal, about 1 bar, but the T-Mobile signal is full strength, therefore I'm hoping that where I live they'll decide to use the T-Mobile site! Does anyone know of time scales of when the networks will be fully integrated?

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Posted

But the network sharing agreement is for 3G services only. Therefore 3 won't get 2g roaming on T-Mobile, it'll continue to use Orange/O2. I think the win for them is that the costs of maintenance get significantly reduced therefore they might actually make a profit one of these days...

I'm on 3 and in my flat (North London) I get a poor signal, about 1 bar, but the T-Mobile signal is full strength, therefore I'm hoping that where I live they'll decide to use the T-Mobile site! Does anyone know of time scales of when the networks will be fully integrated?

just re-read the official press release and it does say t-mobiles 2g network wont be shared. not what i heard at a presentation on the matter. :D

and if you check the HWL 2007 results, three made an operational profit last year :(

completion in just over 2 years was also on the press release, so 2010 is about right.

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Posted

just re-read the official press release and it does say t-mobiles 2g network wont be shared. not what i heard at a presentation on the matter. :D

and if you check the HWL 2007 results, three made an operational profit last year :(

completion in just over 2 years was also on the press release, so 2010 is about right.

Don't count on this meeting those time scales. The first part of the plan is to replace the NEC base stations in 3's network with Nokia equipment, these are in the south of the UK. The roll out for these sites was to have started at the end of April, but has yet to start. It was due to have completed in 2 years, but have very little chance of meeting that deadline now.

From what I am hearing it will only be the core network that is shared, the base stations will still be for either 3 or T-mobile. They are installing dual network RNC's and this is where they are having problems, the software isn't working.

As for saving money on maintenance, that is already contracted out to ericsson, with the last of T-mobiles staff fully moving over to Ericsson in the last couple of weeks.

I wouldn't be surprised if this doesn't go the same way as the Orange/Vodfone network share.

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