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Vodafone, Orange to share UK mast sites

3,000 masts gone = better access for all. Eh?

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UK mobile operators Vodafone and Orange have announced a plan to share mast sites while continuing to compete with each other. The two telcos said today that joint sites would begin operating later this year.

"This deal will see our two companies work together to ensure our customers benefit from better, deeper and faster mobile coverage in more places, with fewer mast-sites," said Orange UK chief Tom Alexander. "It will be better for our customers, better for our businesses and better for the environment."

The plan will see sites across the UK hosting both Orange and Vodafone equipment. Both 2G and 3G coverage will be involved in the scheme, and the collaborating cell operators expect to be able to cut the total site numbers by 15 per cent. This will equate to 3,000 fewer masts.

The companies insist, however, that the deal is not a merger nor an amalgamation of networks.

A joint announcement by the two firms says: "Orange UK and Vodafone UK will continue to maintain separate networks, will retain full responsibility for the quality of service... and will remain competitors." ®

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