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.