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The 'we're not Vodafone' fraternity

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O2 has locked arms with a phalanx of other independent mobile operators to give them more clout in the marketplace - especially against the likes of Vodafone.

Amena (Spain), O2 (Germany, UK and Ireland), One (Austria), Pannon GSM (Hungary), Sunrise (Switzerland), Telenor Mobil (Norway) and Wind (Italy signed the formal agreement in Munich yesterday.

The alliance means that the companies will be better placed for bulk-buying of mobile kit and handsets. What's more, those companies within the alliance will also be able to share the cost of developing new products and services.

For punters, it means they will be able to get all the services they usually get - such as simple access to home services including voice-mail and customer service using familiar short-codes - even when they're out of their home country.

In all, the alliance spans a huge chunk of Europe and covers more than 40 million phone users.

In a statement, mmO2 director, Rudi Gröger, said: "The creation of this alliance will be excellent news for our customers as we will be able to offer an outstanding range of pan-European services far greater than the members could alone.

"Key to the success of this alliance is an agreement to have only one representative per country, which eliminates the complexities that can arise with multiple in-country members. This, we believe, will enable us to be agile and far quicker to market with new and innovative services," he said.

In June, Orange joined T-Mobile, Telefonica Moviles and TIM in an alliance to deliver an "enhanced customer experience through seamless voice, data and mobile internet services across multiple markets".

Much like today's announcement, Europe's mobile network operators decided to gang up against the might of Vodafone. ®

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