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Vodafone and O2 to share networks
Thursday 12 March 2009 16:19:51 by Andrew Ferguson

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.

Comments

Posted by Sandgrounder over 8 years ago
Fewer masts is potentially bad news for those people who live near the ones remaining as more antennae will be needed, radiating more power.
Posted by adriandaz over 8 years ago
But UK mast power levels are 100s if not 1000s below the strengths of those found elsewhere in the world...
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
Industry comic The Register has a slightly different take on the story: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/03/13/vodafone_o2_sharing/
Posted by otester over 8 years ago
@adriandaz

That explains the poor coverage.
Posted by stator over 8 years ago
I expect they would only be turning off transmitters that are on exactly the same site, so coverage shouldn't be affected.
Posted by mickerickerous over 8 years ago
My BT GO, using vodaphone, has no reception, my O2 mobile has 5 bars. In rural Scotland a merger may be good for many, only need one mobile!!
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
mickerickerous you make a good point, in theory this could improve reception to those on other networks, if there are 2 comapnies and 2 transmitters and one transmitter is not as good as the other shutting it off technically shouldnt affect anything with regards to getting a signal as the transmitter thats better will remain in place...... Of course this relys on the mobile companies all agreeing on which transmitters should stay and go for the customers benefit, which is unlikely but hey we can hope.
Posted by Fellwalker over 8 years ago
There are already times when I get a network busy signal with O2. If they cut the number of masts that may grow.
Am I alone in seeming to remember that when I first got a mobile it was able to use other networks, but now the sim prevents that?
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"There are already times when I get a network busy signal with O2. If they cut the number of masts that may grow.
Am I alone in seeming to remember that when I first got a mobile it was able to use other networks, but now the sim prevents that?"

Errr if o2 get rid of the masts that give you an intermittant signal though and they in partnership use a vodaphone mast its possible that may well be closer to your location of stronger in transmit strength, which would mean your signal becomes better even if there are less masts
Posted by mhc over 8 years ago

Cellnet (now O2) and Vodafone wanted to do this many years ago in areas where usage would be low and ROI non-existant - typically the Highlands and Islands but other operators objected and took it to OfTel and the EC to complain and eventually Cellnet and Vodafone were stopped as it was seen as restrictive by cutting out the other operators.
Posted by dragon1945 over 8 years ago
I'd just like to be able to use my mobile phone at home. I can receive text messages on a good day when they haven't switched off the only local mast. To send a text requires I walk out halfway across a field. I can't use it as a phone at all. If they cut off the local mast I won't have a signal at all. I have tried O2, Vodaphone, Tesco, and my latest phone is on Orange. I assume the mast is off again as my phone says "No Network" at present. On a good day it says "Limited Service". We need another mast,not less, preferably boosting TV signal as well as the mobile signal.
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