Following hot on the heels of the merger of Orange and T-Mobile to form Everything Everywhere, Vodafone and O2 have just announced that they will be joining forces. This can only be good news for consumers who still struggle to get decent 3G and even 2G connectivity even now in 2012. By pooling their resources, O2 and Vodafone will be able to provide a far better service with superior signal strength and coverage for all their customers.
There will still be some separation between the networks until 2015 but then, they will join and link up all their backend trunk cables across UK. They have promised that, in three years time, there will be lightning-fast 4G coverage for 98% of the British population. It might seem a long way away now, but we can’t wait.
The network sharing agreement will result in there being a total of 18,500 cell tower sites usable by Vodafone and O2 customers across the country. This is a truly massive amount that even dwarves the 18,000 shared between T-Mobile, Orange and 3 Mobile. Despite the sharing agreement though, O2 and Vodafone will still compete with each other on the high street and will retain control and sovereignty over the wireless spectrum that they own.
The obvious reason for the two networks to join together is to make them force to be reckoned with in the upcoming 4G spectrum auction. It will put them in a much better position to compete with Everything Everywhere so that they’ll build on providing customers with the best possible service once LTE 4G rolls out across the UK. They will be able to reduce their costs and plough more money into providing 4G connectivity all over the country.
So what do you think? Is this going to be a good thing for the networks and consumers alike? Do you want your 2G and 3G coverage fixed first? And how excited are you about 4G signal on your smartphone?