T-Mobile and 3 to share 3G networks

T-Mobile and 3, the UK mobile phone network providers have announced a deal to combine their 3G access networks, bringing both networks to almost nationwide 3G coverage by the end of next year. Both networks have patchy 3G coverage, particularly outside some major towns and cities.

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, the two companies said in a statement.

Rival networks Vodafone and Orange agreed a similar infrastructure sharing deal back in February. Both deals allow the networks involved to significantly expand their 3G coverage at a far lower cost than continuing with standalone deployments.

T-Mobile is owned by Germany's Deutsche Telekom and 3 by Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa.