T-Mobile and Orange see collaboration as mobile industry future

Emlin Gurdenli, Technical Director of T-Mobile UK

T-Mobile and Orange took a dig at critics of its merger yesterday during a speech at the Cellular 25.

The event, to celebrate the past 25 years of mobile technology, gave each of the UK's major operators 10 minutes to speak on particular technologies but the executives chose their own agendas to discuss.

Emin Gurdenli, technical director of T-Mobile UK, confirmed that the merger between his company and Orange was well on its way and should be completed by the fourth quarter of this year.

However, he also took the opportunity to say this collaboration was the way forward for the industry.

Directing most of his speech at Mike Short, the chief technology officer (CTO) of O2 who had spoken before him, Gurdenli said: "To make a change technology is not enough... it is about partnering and sharing."

He added: "We now have the most comprehensive network sharing with T-Mobile and Orange... I'm sorry Mike [but] it is the way of the future, built into the principles and spirit of Digital Britain."

The Orange representative Graham Fisher, head of research and development at Orange Labs, was more subtle with his digs with Gurdenli but equally pointed to the way of the future being about collaboration.

"As pressures eat into us we are consolidating as an industry... we need to marry better the open innovation to the incremental innovation," he said.

"Acceptance that people out there have the better ideas you have to start with that. We need to move to open innovation which means the governments need to find ways that competitors can work together on some very big problems."

The entire event was kicked off by the Minister for Digital Britain, Stephen Timms MP, but he managed to sneak out of the event before operators started talking spectrum.

Although most of the executives mentioned it at some point in their speeches, Ed Candy, chief technology officer for the Hutchinson Group UK which owns 3, made more of a plea to the government to get things moving.

"Only a short small piece of spectrum is important to us, between 600 to 700 and 2.6," he said.

He added: "If we are going to have affordable internet with everyone born with an internet device in their hands then we need to sort out spectrum [and] if we are going to make sure our kids and our kids kids have a place to go we will need all of it."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.