Hutchinson Whampoa-owned 3 UK and Deutche-Telekom's T-Mobile have confirmed that they have chosen Nokia Siemens Networks as the main contractor to expand and improve the infrastructure of their Joint Venture, MBNL (Mobile Broadband Network Limited).
The £400 million contract will allow both companies to significantly enhance their coverage - up to 98 percent - as well as delivering much better 3G experience by the end of the year for their customers.
MBNL was created back in 2007 to allow the two smallest independent mobile network operators to share running and capital costs as well as boost their overall efficiencies.
Both companies expect that by the end of the year, around 5,500 3G sites will have been consolidated with more than 3,000 others being made redundant and switched off altogether.
Both companies have a combined base of more than 12,500 mast sites and expect to save tens of millions of pounds when the process will have been completed.
Graham Payne, managing director of MBNL, explained "Smartphone and mobile laptop data traffic growth in the UK has been unprecedented, and every sign is it will continue growing fast."
MBNL - which is set to oversee the largest HSDPA network in Europe - has also reaffirm the fact that the ongoing merger between T-Mobile and Orange will not have any impact on the joint venture.
We understand that either company would be able to pull out of the Joint Venture and leave the other one in disarray. The problem for MBNL is that it will become redundant when Orange and T-Mobile merge because both operators will have to go through the same process.