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Rival operators EE and Three strike a deal to share 4G infrastructure

£1bn deal will accelerate networks' 4G rollout and cut costs
Mon Feb 03 2014, 16:42
Mobile spectrum antenna

RIVAL MOBILE OPERATORS EE and Three have struck a deal that will see them sharing 4G infrastructure and transmission costs. 

Three and T-Mobile, one half of EE, have already teamed up to share some 3G infrastructure, and today's £1bn arrangement sees the deal being extended to include 4G. 

This deal, the Financial Times reports, will accelerate the rollout of 4G for both networks, as well as cutting the costs of doing so, with the two operators set to share mast and transmission fees. 

However, the deal has been described as a "passive" one, which means that unlike Three and T-Mobile's 3G agreement, the two operators will keep their antennas and core networks separate, which means that they will be able to control factors such as the speeds of their separate networks.

An EE spokesperson confirmed the deal to The INQUIRER. A spokesperson said, "The new framework increases cost efficiencies as we continue our roll out of 4G to cover more than 90 [percent] of the UK population by the end of the year.

"This is part of our £1.5 billion three year investment to significantly differentiate the EE network in terms of the people we connect and the experience they receive."

Three CEO David Dyson told the Financial Times, "Beyond two years, apps and services will develop to make 4G more relevant. Right now, a 3G network can provide most of the service for most customers."

This latest plan comes as EE hopes to reach 70 percent coverage of 4G across the UK by the end of the month, while Three is hoping to offer 50 cities 4G coverage by the end of 2014.

Three has not yet responded to our request for comment. µ


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