UK mobile operators O2 and Vodafone are to create a “national grid” to speed up the delivery of high-speed 4G services.
In a joint statement the two firms said the partnership would “deliver real benefits for today’s mobile phone users by creating two competing networks that will be able to offer indoor 2G and 3G coverage targeting 98% of the UK population by 2015”.
The new grid will also allow 4G to be “rolled out as widely and rapidly as possible”.
The statement says each company would continue to compete and operate their independent spectrum.
Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 owner Telefónica UK said: “This partnership is about working smarter as an industry, so that we can focus on what really matters to our customers – delivering a superfast network up to two years faster than Ofcom envisages and to as many people as possible.
“One physical grid, running independent networks, will mean greater efficiency, fewer site builds, broader coverage and, crucially, investment in innovation and better competition for the customer.”
Vodafone UK CEO Guy Laurence said the tie-up would “close the digital divide for millions of people across the country and power the next phase of the smartphone revolution.”
Laurence added: “It will create two stronger players who will compete with each other and with other operators to bring the benefits of mobile internet services to consumers and businesses across the country.”