Nine cellcos across Europe announced this morning that they have formed an alliance in an attempt to provide seamless, enhanced voice and data solutions for customers in the region and to form a venture big enough to rival the handset purchasing power of leading operators such as Vodafone and Orange. The alliance – made up of Spain’s Amena, O2 in Germany, the UK and Ireland, ONE (Austria), Pannon GSM (Hungary), sunrise (Switzerland) Telenor Mobil (Norway) and Italy’s Wind – was set up yesterday when the operators signed the formal agreement in Germany. It will initially provide services to customers in the member companies’ operating countries, spanning a population of around 40 million subscribers; it plans to extend its reach into Asia and the US in the future. Rudi Gröger, director of mmO2, believes that the alliance will be welcomed by customers, with the cellcos being able to roll out a wider range of pan-European services than if they were operating alone. The move to create the alliance comes amid concerns that the likes of Vodafone are securing exclusive handset deals with equipment suppliers due to its global presence and strong purchasing power.