Feeds

Vodafone and Orange to share UK radio access network

One network to rule them all

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

Orange and Vodafone are to combine their radio access networks, effectively allowing customers of each to roam between the networks in the UK.

The deal, once completed, will create a single 3G network accessible by customers of both companies, who will maintain separate responsibility for quality of service, customer issues, and application portfolios.

This idea has been mooted in the past, but distinct technical problems have prevented any adoption.

On 2G networks Vodafone and Orange operate at distinctly different frequencies, and while this agreement states that combining of 2G networks should be explored it only expects that to happen "as technical solutions become available".

Combining 3G networks is technically easier, though there are still significant barriers to overcome. Vodafone sources its 3G equipment from Ericsson, while Orange uses a mix of Nortel, Nokia Siemens and Alcatel equipment. Many of those boxes will remain, but everything at the cell site, and backhaul, will be need to be integrated and rationalised to achieve the cost reduction this plan should enable.

For Orange this deal will slightly increase their coverage, but for Vodafone it is really just a cost-reduction measure: managing cell sites is a significant drain on resources and with 3G technology making it possible to share the network there seems little reason not to.

The details of who will run this combined network have yet to be decided; a new company will likely be formed, with Orange and Vodafone as its customers. Both companies are also free to expand their own networks beyond that managed by the third party, such as providing additional coverage for a big corporate customer.

The deal raises the prospect of other networks seeking to combine their radio connectivity in the same way. In the UK this seems initially unlikely, but there are many countries where similar deals could work well and if Orange and Vodafone manage to achieve integration without too much trouble then the idea is likely to spread.®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T dangles gigabit broadband plans over 100 US cities
So soon after a mulled Google Fiber expansion, fancy that
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE & Vodafone will let you BONK on the TUBE – with Boris' blessing
Transport for London: You can pay, but don't touch
Turnbull gave NBN Co NO RULES to plan blackspot upgrades
NBN Co faces huge future Telstra bills and reduces fibre footprint
NBN Co plans fibre-to-the-basement blitz to beat cherry-pickers
Heading off at the pass operation given same priority as blackspot fixing
NBN Co in 'broadband kit we tested worked' STUNNER
Announcement of VDSL trial is not proof of concept for fibre-to-the-node
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.