mm02 picks favourites in race to 3G

Save €600m on network roll-out

mm02 today named Nortel Networks and Nokia as preferred suppliers for the build out of its next-generation broadband mobile data network across Europe.

In a related deal, mm02's Dutch business, Telfort, is to outsource its entire mobile network operations to Ericsson.

mm02 hopes the agreements, which consolidate and replace its existing supply contracts across Europe, will save €600m (£367 million) on network expenditure over the next five years.

The company had previously planned to spend around £1.75 billion on 3G equipment. mm02 hopes to cut this to £1.38 billion, thanks in large part to greater economies of scale and simplified network management.

Nortel Networks will supply mmO2 with a compatible GPRS network across its territories. It will also supply the 3G core network infrastructure in the UK, Germany and Ireland, and a minimum of 30 per cent of 3G base stations.

Nokia will provide a minimum of 30 per cent of the 3G radio equipment as well as retaining its existing GSM radio equipment business.

The two suppliers will compete for the remaining 40 per cent share of the 3G equipment supply contract for the UK, Germany and Ireland.

As part of the planned outsourcing agreement in the Netherlands, Ericsson will supply the in-country 3G core network and radio equipment.

Today's announcements are the outcome of a six-month review by mmO2 of its network architecture and suppliers, which followed its demerger from BT last November.

mmO2 says the investment in improving its network infrastructure will enable it to offer faster 'always on' services, mobile commerce, gaming, music and advanced to consumers as well as high-speed intranet access and enhanced GPRS roaming packages to business. ®