JV network ready for data boom


Everything Everywhere, the UK joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile, will put rival firms’ network infrastructure in the shade, reckons chief executive Tom Alexander.

Asked if their combined network operation would settle the argument over network quality, with customers of both brands roaming across all shared infrastructure by the end of the year, Alexander (pictured) said:

“Definitely. I think every operator has a need to improve 3G coverage. We already have a huge advantage, and T-Mobile has a very mature 3G network also. Put those together and the step-change in terms of geographic coverage means we’ve got a really superior network. It is a huge advantage.

“We are constantly re-engingeering our network for capability, capacity and quality. The best network is really important. We want to provide everything everywhere – and that describes our support of multimedia devices and our geographic coverage.”

He added: “Both businesses have been consistently improving their networks. The whole reason we are putting this joint venture together is to give us the economies of scale to deal with the data revolution that is happening. Because people everywhere in the UK want smartphones – it not just people in West London who want good 3G coverage.

“And then you have 4G, and the massive investment you need for that. And that is just for data. We have also talked about pioneering HD voice. We will roll out HD voice across both networks in the UK next year.”

HD voice uses the WB-AMR (wideband adaptive multi-rate) speech codec, which provides better quality audio due to a wider speech bandwidth of 50Hz-7000Hz, compared to the current narrowband speech codec of 300Hz-3400Hz.

Orange’s HD voice service was originally planned for launch this year.

Together, Orange and T-Mobile have 27,000 2G and 3G cell sites in the UK, many of which will be stripped out because of duplication.

Both Virgin Mobile, which takes a wholesale agreement with T-Mobile to the new joint venture company, and 3, which has a 2G roaming agreement with Orange and a 3G network sharing arrangement with T-Mobile, will also be supported by the combined Orange/T-Moble infrastructure.

“All four service businesses will run on common infrastructure,” said Alexander.