Hardware vendor Ericsson has been awarded a contract to manage the integration of T-Mobile’s and 3 UK’s 3G networks as part of the 50/50 joint venture, Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL). The four-year contract will see Ericsson maintain and operate the consolidated network and an estimated 5,000 cell sites are expected to be decommissioned as part of the agreement. Approximately 80 employees from T-Mobile have also been transferred to Ericsson to strengthen the vendor’s UK managed services capability. Emin Gurdenli, Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile UK, commented, ‘The appointment of Ericsson is another significant step towards realising our commitment to create and operate the UK’s most extensive 3G network.’
The MBNL venture was formed in January 2008, and will see T-Mobile and 3 combine their 3G infrastructure in a bid to offer nationwide 3G coverage whilst limiting rollout costs. The first integrated cell site was commissioned in February 2008, following which pilots were conducted in Leeds and Bradford.