T-mobile and 3 join Forces

Both 3 and T-mobile don’t have the best reputation in terms of their network coverage. In particular 3’s UK coverage is thought by the general public to be the worst of all the major networks. However, with massively debt it has been difficult for 3 to justifying investing multiple millions in building and installing new telephone masts. So it’s no surprise to hear that T-Mobile and 3 are pooling their mobile phone masts in an effort to bring high-speed wireless broadband services to more parts of the country.

Some believe that is actually the first stage of T-Mobile, owned by Deutsche Telekom, buying the 3 mobile phone network. It has been reported that 3 have debts of over £10 billion which makes it a pretty unattractive buy for anyone.

Combining the mobile phone networks of the UK’s 4th and 5th network makes commercial sense. It will help reduce costs while increasing the coverage for both networks. Both T-mobile and 3 have a 3g network but the coverage is limited (websites). 3’s is the largest 3g network in the UK but only covers about 90% of the population.

The deal does need to be checked by the UK regulator Ofcom. They will investigate whether the deal is anti competitive. Some legal experts say that, under EU rules, if the two companies pool their assets into a joint venture it will have to be examined by the Office of Fair Trading as a merger.

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Video Preview of the Forthcoming O2 Cocoon Mobile Phone

There is no doubt that this is one serious looking piece of kit. It was designed by the cool Swedish firm Syntes Studio, and the video below gives you some idea of the inspiration for the unusual shape. Some have called it an iPhone copy but I think they are wrong! The Cocoon is white like an ipod and it is fashionable but that is where the similarities end, apart for the 2 mega-pixel camera which will lets down both the iPhone and the Cocoon.

Spec of O2 Cocoon
– 2 megapixel autofocus camera and a second video calling camera,
– A QVGA 240X320 display,
– An MP3 player,
– An FM radio
– Expandable memory up to 2GB.
– Cool LED front screen
– Memory for over 500 music tracks

Sneak Peak of the O2 Christmas TV Ad

I was just looking around on youtube.com and found this preview of the 2007 Christmas advert for O2. My foreign languages are not too good but I think the commercial is from Slovakia. I assume that O2 are planning to use the ad in all countries, including the UK, because I’m sure it would be too expensive to make a different TV ad for each country but only time will tell.

O2 to Launch Internet TV in UK

After a successful trial in the Czech market, O2 are planning to launch an internet based TV service in 2008. The TV service will accessible via some 3g mobile phones but it will be predominately used by computer-based users. The Czech service offers over 50 channels with content from leading producers including: Disney, Sony, Warner Bros and HBO, the producer of The Sopranos.

Before launching in the UK, O2 decided to trial the TV service the Czech market. The trial was judged to be successful when it attracted over 70k customers. The Chief Executive of O2 Czech, Salvadore Anglada, said:

“The company is moving toward full service convergence, whereby customers can pay a flat-rate tariff to watch live ice hockey games, the most popular sport in the country, on whatever technology suits them best at the time, whether that is by a mobile phone, normal TV or over the internet.”

It has been expected that 02 would launch an internet based TV after they brought the high-speed broadband provider “Be” a couple of years ago. Be broadband is thought to be the fastest network in the UK, this capability makes it perfect for carrying computer based TV services.

No one is expecting the UK to be as easy at the Czech market to crack. Czech customers are hungry to source broadband, mobile and pay TV services from the one supplier, whereas this type of service hasn’t be welcomed by UK customers. Virgin Media’s quad-play has been disappointing, as has the take-up of BT Vision.

In addition, Orange is currently trial their version of internet TV with over 300,000 paying customers in London and Leeds. If successful, Orange plan to roll out the service nationally in the first half of 2008. The pay TV market is certain set to become a whole lot more competitive with Sky, Virgin, Tiscali, BT, and now Orange and O2 all battling for customers. Hopefully, this extra competition will bring down the prices for customers.

O2 Airwave finally brought by Privity equirty firm.

Its been on the cards for long time, but today O2 finally ended months of speculation by announcing that a private equity firm has purchased the operator’s emergency services digital radio network, O2 Airwave.

02 airwave

Unlike some assets stripping private equity firm, this firm claims that they have purchased O2 Airware, which will now be called Guardian Digital Communications, as a long-term investment. In fact, Jim Craig, head of the firm, “we are committed to a minimum of 10 years and plan to be involved with Airwave longer.”

The private equity company is owned jointly by two of Australian bank Macquarie‘s managed infrastructure funds: Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund II and Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group. No one is sure about the precise details of the deal but it though they are paying about £2bn for Airware.

According to Airwave’s website they are: “… a secure digital radio network dedicated for the exclusive use of the UK’s emergency and public safety services (not including 3g mobile services). Designed to carry voice and data communications, the service offers guaranteed levels of coverage across England, Wales and Scotland. This means that users can stay in instant communication even in remote areas or within confined spaces of buildings and tunnels where radio coverage has often failed in the past.”

Airwave has recently won several important contracts including a £48m deal with the Scottish Ambulance Service, a £32m contract with their Welsh counterparts, and most importantly a £115m agreement to kit out London Underground.

Jim Craig, said: “Airwave is the largest built-for-purpose public safety communications network globally, with unique capabilities. There is potential to leverage the company’s skills and unique know-how in the international field, as overseas governments modernise their emergency communications.”

O2 offer customer £95 credit if they don’t upgrade

In a move, which is good for both consumer and the environment, O2 have announced the O2 Energy Saver option, which offers customers £95 credit if they don’t upgrade. This is all part of O2’s “’We’re in this together’ campaign which started earlier this year. This is a great move for the environment because as present customers are given a new handset as an incentive to renew their contract, but as most mobile phone contracts only last for 12 or 18 months this means that new phone are manufactured and supplied before the old handset would normally have been replaced. Millions of these redundant handsets are then simply shoved into a cupboard and forgotten about or even worst sent to the nearest landfill.

The O2 customers who decide not to replace their phone, will be offer two options; A) £100 credit, or B) £95 credit and a £5 donation to the O2 Energy Saver fund. O2 will then match every donation of £5, meaning that the total donation for every handset not replaced is a total of £10.

All the money raised will put to towards creating greener communities by ensuring they use less energy, pollute less, create less waste and have a reduced contribution to climate change. O2 are giving the money to the Energy Saving Trust who will administer the campaign.

Matthew Key, Chief Executive O2 UK, said “Mobiles have changed the way we live and people will always want new phones and the benefits they bring. However, there is an environmental impact from the production of each new phone. With 70 million active mobiles in the UK the collective carbon savings to be gained by keeping handsets longer is simply massive. We therefore want to give customers a choice and an incentive to keep their existing phone and make a difference.”

For those of you who don’t know, O2 are UK’s leading mobile phone operator, with over 16 millions user in the UK alone, including 3g mobile customers. With this many customers a green campaign like this will have a sustainable impact on the environment.