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UK heads for a mobile network operator duopoly
This article is part of the IT in Europe issue of February 2011
The number of UK mobile network operators is dwindling rapidly due to mergers and operator agreements that stifle competition. The question for businesses is what effect this network consolidation might have on both the mobile services available to them and the prices they will have to pay. And if the implications are negative, how can they be avoided or mitigated? First, the background: Until quite recently, the UK had nine physical mobile phone networks, four 2G and five 3G. It will soon have only two access networks left, following a series of mergers and network-sharing deals. Two of the UK's five mobile network operators, Orange and T-Mobile, are in the process of merging. The new combined company, called Everything Everywhere, has inherited T-Mobile’s 3G network-sharing agreement with 3UK. Meanwhile, O2 and Vodafone agreed upon a pan-European network-sharing deal in 2009; in the UK this includes the two sharing their sites, masts and antennae via management company Cornerstone. So, despite persistent rumours that 3UK is a ...
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UK mobile network operators are dwindling due to mergers and agreements that stifle competition. Businesses must consider the effect this network consolidation will have on mobile services available to them and the prices they will have to pay.