Vodafone and O2 are at an advanced stage of talks whereby they may pool resources with the aim of reducing costs according to the Guardian.
One side effect of this pooling and a similar coming together of Orange, 3 and T-Mobile is that the number of mobile masts in the UK may reduce from its current 51,000 total. The cost savings would also arrive in the form of being able to share back-haul which, with the increasing take-up of mobile broadband, will be crucial to ensuring that networks perform reasonably.
Reducing the number of masts and aggregating back-haul while cost effective will carry implications for people who have bought mobile broadband dongles, as many will have sourced a service that works well in their main location, and if a mast were to be removed from service they may suddenly find their speeds reduced. Of course some will conversely see their speeds improve as their operator appears on a closer mast.