The deal represents the largest known active 3G network sharing agreement and by sharing the costs will save both companies a combined sum of £2 billion pounds over the next 10 years.
But although the two companies have agreed to combine their 3G access networks, each company’s core network and T-Mobile’s 2G network will not be shared.
A 50:50 joint venture company called Mobile Broadband Network Limited has been set up to supervise the creation and operation of the new service, which will begin on January 1, 2008.
Both companies also expect to scrap approximately 5,000 mobile masts as part of the deal.
T-Mobile UK chief executive Jim Hyde said: From 2008, customers can expect to have access to high-speed 3G services in a greater number of locations than we can currently serve over our existing infrastructure.
“By collaborating with 3 UK, we can achieve this quicker and with greater economy – that’s a win-win in anyone’s language.”
3 UK CEO Kevin Russell added: This market-leading initiative will accelerate the adoption of new services in a timescale each of us could not have achieved on our own.
“It also enables us to cost effectively meet customer demand for faster speeds, wider coverage and greater capacity.”