According to DerStandard.at, Austrian cellcos T-Mobile and Orange have announced a network partnership agreement concerning the joint use of their existing 3G infrastructure in rural areas. The collaboration between the two operators will reportedly benefit over six million customers across the country. The central aim of the agreement is to boost 3G network coverage for customers of both companies and increase capacity in order to provide subscribers with new mobile broadband services in the future. The hook-up is expected to save each operator around EUR30 million (USD43.7 million) a year in costs.
In a joint press announcement, T-Mobile Austria CEO Robert Chvatal and Michael Krammer, his opposite number at Orange, commented: ‘Existing networks will not be divided, because everything remains as it is. The definition of voice quality, the marketing of products and the range of data services all remains separate. Network coverage is expected to increase by approximately 10% in a few hundred new locations around the country. However, in Vienna, Linz, Innsbruck and Graz nothing will change’.
An alliance between the two mobile operators was first mooted in February 2011, when it was revealed that the UK merger between T-Mobile and Orange – which resulted in the creation of a new entity branded ‘Everything Everywhere’ – may well act as a template for mergers in other European countries. Elie Girard, France Telecom’s vice-president of strategy and development, claimed that further collaboration between Orange and T-Mobile would ‘address new growth opportunities as well as operational efficiency issues’.