The European Commission has reached a preliminary decision on the future of 3G network sharing, bringing good news for two international mobile operators. The UK-based O2 group and Germany’s T-Mobile proposed a scheme some time ago which would see the pair sharing some of their UMTS network infrastructure in the UK and Germany, where both companies have bought 3G licences.
EC Competition Commissioner, Mario Monti, commented: “The examination of the network sharing agreements between T-Mobile and O2, the only two so far to have been filed for regulatory clearance, have led the Commission to believe that, provided that the appropriate safeguards are in place, such co-operation deals can bring benefits for the consumer in terms of a faster introduction of new services, more competition and a lesser impact to the environment.” The EC will not give its final decision until it has studied the views of all other parties involved.Written by BWCS for PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence.
The commission would have been foolish to reject the idea of network sharing entirely, but it is sensible to set certain conditions for such agreements. As Ericsson has highlighted, some markets may not be big enough to accomodate the number of licenses sold. In a sense, this is the EC attempting to patch up the damage caused by the greed of individual governments during the 3G license auctions.
This a positive step which will be welcomed by all in the industry for the exact reasons cited by Commissioner Monti: increased speed of deployment for the consumer and reduced environmental impact from 3G base stations. If properly regulated this should lead in turn to a more viable competitive landscape.
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.