Arqiva principal cell site partner for 3G network integration project

Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL), the joint venture between T-Mobile UK and 3 UK formed to create and manage what will be the UK’s most extensive 3G network, has selected Arqiva as its strategic partner for the provision of cell sites.

Under the terms of the 10-year agreement, Arqiva will provide MBNL with 5,100 sites and Arqiva will have exclusive marketing rights for site sharing services on a further 2,500 sites.

T-Mobile UK and 3 UK entered into an infrastructure consolidation agreement in January 2008 with the objective of creating the UK’s most extensive 3G network by 2010, providing close to complete nationwide population coverage. This pioneering model for network consolidation will dramatically increase the uptake of 3G services as a result of improved nationwide coverage and the higher quality of in-building reception.

The reduction in capital investment in infrastructure, the decommissioning of an estimated 5,000 sites and the lower operational costs achieved by jointly managing and maintaining a shared network is expected to generate a joint saving of £2 billion over 10 years.

Graham Payne, managing director at MBNL, said: “This is a substantial contract for MBNL and the most significant in terms of provision of sites for the integrated network. The Arqiva team has given us a lot of confidence in its ability to quickly deliver the sites and upgrades as the pace of network consolidation rapidly increases over the course of 2009. We are delighted to have Arqiva as our strategic partner and look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.”

John Cronin, managing director of Arqiva’s Wireless Access division, said: “We are very pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with T-Mobile and 3 UK and to be playing such a significant role in this groundbreaking project.”

This announcement is the latest in series of key agreements awarded by MBNL covering 3G radio network infrastructure, network design and deployment, high-capacity backhaul and radio access network operations. MBNL is currently engaged in an intensive programme of site consolidation, cell site equipment upgrades and capacity expansion with the goal of delivering a fully integrated network by 2010.

Arqiva has over 24,000 marketable sites, many of which are in key urban locations, and has over 80 years’ experience in the deployment, management and maintenance of wireless networks throughout the UK.

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