The merger of the two major operators will allow 30 million of UK mobile customers to make calls and send text messages on either network for no extra cost.
This move is the first benefit for the customers to come from the partnership between Orange and T-Mobile in the UK unveiled last May. This new system will be available starting on October 5th for customers who apply for this free ‘roaming’ service.
Tom Alexander, CEO of Everything Everywhere, the company resulting from the merger, said:
This is the beginning of an ambitious plan to give our customers instant access to whatever they want, wherever they are – instant access to everything everywhere.
The ambition goes further than simply offering an alternate 2G network to customers: Next year customers will automatically switch to whichever of the two networks has the strongest signal while they are mid-call (hand-off), and benefit from enhanced data and internet coverage through 3G
The need for faster and sturdier mobile data networks push carriers around the world to accelerate their deployment and trials of 4G LTE Technology.
In the United States, Clearwire Corporation is announcing the start of trials expected to yield unmatched wireless speeds of 20-70 Mbps in “real-life” situation., significantly faster than the 5-12 Mbps expected from other local operators.
Meanwhile, a Samsung Executive declared last week that MetroPCS Communications Inc. will be the first US carrier to offer commercially 4G LTE services in the country. While Verizon, the nation’s biggest wireless carrier, plans to launch their own Long Term Evolution network by the end of the year, MetroPCS is expected to start its services no later than next month.
Europe is not late either. Sweden is leading the race, thanks to TeliaSonera who is already launching LTE services in a second major city in the country after Stockholm. They declare planning to rollout the service in 25 cities by the end of the year. Erik Hallberg, President of Mobility Services at TeliaSonera, revealed that the company’s rollout plan includes augmenting the 2600MHz LTE network with 800MHz frequencies, which it expects to receive via future bandwidth auctions.
LTE and WiMAX are the main pathways to 4G that MNOs have to pick between, and on which they can build their data handling capacities. While WiMAX has enjoyed a first mover advantage and a clear head-start, LTE is a natural progression for MNOs operating on GSM/UMTS networks, and that it offers the ability to lower the cost of delivering data services. For this reason, many believe that there will be a surge in the deployment of LTE networks in the coming years.
Five companies bought bid documents for the 3G license auction when the National Telecommunications Commission opened the sale of bid documents. The NTC plans to hold the auction of licenses for 3G services in the fourth week of September.
AIS, DTAC and True Corp, the three main mobile operators of Thailand have bought bid documents for the 3G auction. The other two applicants are Samart and Loxley, who currently operate as MVNO under TOT.
The auctioning process has been regularly delayed and some problems are still to be solved. The starting bidding price for a 15-year license is set at THB12.8 billion (US$402.9 million). In addition, operators will have to follow strict regulations about foreign involvement in the companies, redistribution of the revenue and network capacity.
The auction could face further delays because the terms of three NTC members will expire next month and the regulator might be replaced by the new National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. This could potentially leave the process open to legal challenge.