EE and Three aim to cut 4G implementation costs.
In a move which no-one saw coming EE and Three will share 4G masts and backhaul networks in a cost saving exercise. According to the Financial Times, the companies will invest a total of £1 billion to reduce the cost of rolling out 4G across the UK.
However, other 4G network equipment that effects network reliability and speed - such as antennas, base stations and core 4G network equipment - will not be shared. This allows EE to continue to offer double speed 4G and to introduce quad speed 4G later this year without Three benefiting in any way from EE's advanced technology.
Vodafone and O2 already share their 4G networks in the UK and to a far greater extent than EE and Three intend to. This means that Vodafone and O2 have virtually identical 4G network roll-outs across the UK, with both offering 4G in 13 cities to-date.
EE will reduce costs as a result of the joint venture, but Three may benefit to a greater extent in terms of its future 4G network roll-out.
EE currently has 4G launched in 160 towns and is aiming for 98% of the UK population to be covered by the end of 2014. Meanwhile, Three has not yet launched 4G services which are accessible to its customers but plans to have 4G launched in 50 cities by the end of 2014.
3G will keep an eye on how this pans out but we don’t expect EE to lose out in any way but let’s wait and see.
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