O2 and Vodafone have announced that they are to share 18,500 network masts. Mast sharing should boost 3G and 2G indoor coverage to 98% by 2015 with plans to also ensure speedy deployment of 4G services. Everything Everywhere, the UK’s biggest mobile network and operator of the T-Mobile UK and Orange UK brands cautiously welcomed the move. The introduction of a new joint-venture to the UK brings interesting changes to the UK mobile landscape. For 3G coverage mobile subscribers will effectively end up choosing between the catchy Mobile Broadband Network Ltd (Everything Everywhere & 3UK) and the longer named Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure (Vodafone and O2).
Mobile Broadband Network Ltd (MBNL) and Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure (Cornerstone) are likely to run off of two different mobile spectrums. Whereas MBNL members have use of the 2100Mhz spectrum for 3G Cornerstone members have the ability to use either 2100Mhz or 900Mhz. The benefit of 900Mhz is a stronger signal which travels further and more easily penetrates the walls of buildings. It is therefore likely that Cornerstone will use the 900Mhz spectrum.
It’s a few years before we will start to see the benefits of Cornerstone. We’re already seeing the benefits of better 3G on Orange, T-Mobile and 3 mobile due to the MBNL deal. Orange and T-Mobile users are also seeing better 2G coverage too due to Smart Signal. Here at SG we’re really interested to see how this hots up the race to provide the best 4G coverage. Everything Everywhere have already started the challenge with it’s attempts to get a head start on the competition. We’re really hoping we see better 3G coverage whilst on the move and in our homes too!