Nokia Siemens Networks has been selected as the 3G radio network infrastructure supplier for the consolidation of the two operators’ 3G radio access network infrastructure under MBNL, in the process creating the UK’s most extensive 3G network providing near complete population coverage by the end of 2009.
The contract has been awarded by MBNL, the 50:50 joint venture formed at the beginning of 2008 between 3 and T-Mobile UK to supervise the creation and operation of the joint network on behalf of both companies. The network consolidation agreement will significantly increase both operators’ 3G network quality and coverage, accelerate the provision of new high-speed mobile broadband services and deliver substantial cost savings as well as environmental benefits.
The first integrated cell site was commissioned in early February. Since then MBNL has concluded a pilot in the Leeds and Bradford area which successfully validated that the network consolidation technology will deliver the desired benefits focused on achieving nationwide 3G coverage.
Emin Gurdenli, Technology Director at T-Mobile UK, said: “We are now moving ahead with the large scale consolidation of cell sites. A key objective was to ensure that we achieve scale and integrate quickly and smoothly, minimizing costs whilst quickly expanding coverage so as to enable a much improved service experience for our growing number of mobile internet and broadband customers. We believe that with Nokia Siemens Networks as our principal technology partner, MBNL will deliver on its objective of creating what will be Europe’s largest HSDPA network in record timescales.”
Graham Baxter, Chief Technology Officer for 3 UK, said: “High-speed mobile broadband is going to be a key enabler for both consumers and businesses looking for convenient access to Internet-based services wherever they are. This innovative network collaboration agreement will help to 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 wider coverage, faster speeds and greater capacity that is starting to arise as mobile devices become the most cost-effective and convenient route to access the Internet.”
Although masts and the 3G access networks are being combined, each company’s core network and T-Mobile’s 2G network will not be shared. Both parties will retain responsibility for the delivery of services to their respective customers and use their own frequency spectrum. Nokia Siemens Networks' industry-leading radio access solution will replace most of the two operators’ communications stations across the UK and equipment at the remaining sites is being upgraded and reconfigured for higher quality and capacity. The solution, featuring energy-efficient Flexi base stations from Nokia Siemens Networks, will allow a reduction the number of sites in the network by about 30 percent.
As well as network infrastructure, Nokia Siemens Networks will deliver project management, network deployment and managed spare parts capability, as well as care services to maintain network performance and increase its efficiency.
“This contract is an endorsement of our successful partnership with the two companies and we are committed to supporting them in their growth objectives as well as simplifying the network and reducing their operating costs. Our role in creating the UK’s largest 3G network underscores Nokia Siemens Networks’ leadership in managing advanced and complex network integration projects for the benefit of our customers,” said Spencer Rigler of Nokia Siemens Networks.
Synergies in network operations will be achieved thanks to the leading-edge Multi-operator Radio Access Network (MORAN) solution from Nokia Siemens Networks, allowing their networks to function independently. There are several benefits of this unique technology including full flexibility while merging the two networks, the re-use of existing infrastructure and the reduction of the number of sites.
In addition to cost savings and improved network quality, the integration will also deliver environmental benefits as the Nokia Siemens Networks Flexi base station helps achieve power savings at site of up to 70% compared with traditional 3G equipment