UK MOBILE OPERATORS O2 and Vodafone have been given the green light to form a collaborative network that aims to boost 4G coverage across the UK.
Approved by the Office of Fair Trading on Friday, the partnership will see the two networks pool their network infrastructures to create a national grid that will support two independent and competing networks.
O2 and Vodafone claim this will make it possible for them to bring 2G and 3G coverage to 99 percent of the population by 2015, two years before Ofcom's 2017 deadline. The partnership should also help the two networks roll out 4G connectivity faster, following EE's imminent launch.
Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 UK said, "This partnership is about working smarter as an industry, so that we can focus on what really matters to our customers – delivering a superfast network up to two years faster than Ofcom envisages and to as many people as possible.
"One physical grid, running independent networks, will mean broader coverage and, crucially, investment in innovation and better competition for the customer. We look forward to Ofcom's spectrum auction and the release of 800 spectrum."
Guy Laurence, CEO Vodafone UK added, "This is excellent news for British consumers, businesses and the wider economy: we are promising indoor coverage for 98% of the UK population across all technologies within three years.
"We will bring the best mobile coverage that this country has ever enjoyed to more people than ever before. Our existing customers will benefit on the devices that they have today and we will lay the foundations for the real 4G network they will want tomorrow." µ