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EDITIONS
Monday, 26 August, 2002, 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK
Europe nears 3G decision
Japanese 3G phone
T-Mobile and mm02 could combine their 3G resources
The European Commission is expected to give the go-ahead to two mobile phone operators to share the costs of building their third generation mobile infrastructure in the UK.

The approval would mean German group T-Mobile and the UK company mm02 could combine operations in Germany and the UK, saving up to $5bn (3.2bn).

The two companies have got preliminary regulatory approval to co-operate in Germany and are optimistic that they will get the green light to co-operate in the UK as well.

"We expect that we'll get approval for Britain as well," a T-Mobile spokesman said.

A decision is expected soon, a spokeswoman for the Commission said.

Pushing the roll-out

Several European telecom operators landed themselves in huge debt when they bought expensive third generation mobile licences, amid concerns they would never see the hoped-for returns.

They have faced additional problems - share prices have plunged and there has been a shortage of handsets.

A spokesman for T-Mobile said - if approval is confirmed - the two companies would combine base stations, antennae and network parts in an effort to save money.

A European Commission spokeswoman admitted there had been fears that the co-operation agreements would be anti competitive, but the co-operation agreements have been drafted in a way that addresses these concerns.

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 ON THIS STORY
Amelia Torres, European Commission
"The Commission will also soon be making its views known with regard to the UK market"
Stanley Crossick, European Policy Centre in Brussels
"These companies have got themselves into a pretty serious mess because they over bid for the 3G licences"
See also:

19 Aug 02 | Technology
10 Aug 02 | Technology
06 Aug 02 | Business
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