29/03/2010

T-Morange to build new network?

The new company that is the merged T-Mobile and Orange is thinking about building a brand new network in the UK. This will use equipment from Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei and will support the frequency range from 900MHz to 2.6GHz (2600MHz).

This will allow the company to take advantage of new or refarmed spectrum that may become available in 2012, it will also allow rapid roll-out of new services based on GSM, UMTS (3G) and LTE (4G).

Neither T-Mobile nor Orange have any spectrum in 900MHz, but they're lobbying Ofcom that Vodafone and O2 should give up some of their spectrum when GSM spectrum can be used for 3G services. Currently the combined spectrum that T-Mobile and Orange own exceeds the license limitations for any single operator.

Ofcom have not yet auctioned 2.6GHz which initially was reserved for IMT-2000 use (the technical name for 3G) and due to various legal issues brought against Ofcom by the mobile operators wont be available now until at least 2012. There's likely to be a lot of interest in this band as it offers the potential high data rates (there's 190MHz of spectrum available). It's likely BT will bid for it as they can use it for WiMAX or other wireless broadband technology in rural areas and 3G services in urban areas as they've wanted to offer business mobile services for a while.
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