back to article Who wants T-Mobile UK?

T-Mobile UK will be sold in the next few months, and the markets are salivating at the synergies possible - but it could easily be T-Mobile's network that remains in place when the dust settles. Any doubts that Deutsche Telecom wants shot of its UK arm, T-Mobile, were firmly put to rest with Vodafone and then Telefonica in the …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Gideon 1

    900MHz too usefull

    The greater distance 900Mhz goes and hence coverage infill compared to the higher bands means Vodaphone are very unlikely to give it all up. The journalist obviously never ventures outside of a city!

  2. DavCrav

    Competition commission...

    Surely either Vodafone or Telefonica buying T-mobile would have the kybosh put on it by the regulators. They haven't become that toothless, have they?

  3. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    agreed. In the city, sites are added for capacity so 1800mhz is no disadvantahe. In a rural situation it'd take twice the sites at 1800mhz to get the same coverage as 900mhz... And believe me people won't want to give up coverage. The solution would be to permit lte at 900mhz.

  4. binkypanda
    Gates Horns


    Come on BT don't be proud you may have sold O2, buy T-Mobile!!!! Then you can make the sorry service you call BT Mobile mean something!!!

  5. captain veg Silver badge

    Like 3, I haven't got the money either

    I no longer live in the UK, but I understand that one of T-Mobile's strong suites was the web and walk offer. I'd want to build on that.

    Beardy Branson's brand has the billing systems. Let them have the voice customers and the hassle. Stop subsidising handsets. Do one thing, and do it really well: data. Unlimited data calls with no artificial restrictions on what you do with them -- VoIP no problem, go ahead and tether if you like -- for a flat monthly fee.

    I'd buy that. Am I mad?


  6. Vigilante

    Er, yeah.

    I agree with Gideon, I work for Vodafone UK and this article made me chuckle. There's a reason that the smaller networks were forced to use 1800mhz band, and it;s not because it's better. It travels less distance, requiring far more cell sites and therefore, larger costs to maintain the entire network.

    I expect it'll end up with Vodafone and O2 competing on the larger share of the bandwidth - if Vodafone were to buy say, 45mhz of that spectrum, they would still be within the 130mhz range and telefonica/O2 would be in quite a bad posistion, network-wise, even after getting the remaining bandwidth.

    I guess we'll see how this pans out.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    If it all was that easy

    If voda follows your proposed strategy it will immediately surrender a large portion of its customers in the north of the UK where 900 is essential to achieve coverage. Its coverage will also drop under whatever is necessary to bid for smart metering and other pan-UK contracts.

    In fact, you are missing the point. The 1800 holdings are of little value in a world where 900 (or the digital dividend) has been allowed to use LTE.

    2100 and higher frequencies are likely to stay for femtocells and in-building because they do not propagate very far. 900 will be used for umbrellas and rural. What use is 1800 for if you have a low freq and a high freq band?

    The only valuable thing in the deal are customers. The spectrum is not of much value for anyone but 3 or a new market entrant.

  8. Andy Barber

    Value of customer

    "...which values the 19m customers at something around £150 each."

    Struth, I have paid just £55 in the last 18 month's for my PAYG Nomi account & that includes two, hour long calls to Australia!

  9. Michael B.

    Bye bye decent Internet package

    As a T-Mobile customer with Web 'n' Walk I'm pretty depressed at the thought of either Vodafone or Cellnet buying up my account as they both have dismal Internet packages.Vodafone describes 500Meg as being "Whopping" and Cellnet calls 200Meg "Unlimited". ( I tried to compare this to Orange but their website is so bad I really couldn't find any details on it. )

  10. Gordon 17

    Virgin and T-mobile

    i thought it was and, still is T-Mobile with Virgin piggy backing and, 3 had its own network

  11. JetSetJim

    LTE marketing numbers

    LTE @ 100Mbps for 20MHz - that's the theoretical maximum if you don't bother having such essentials as control channels and a scatty radio environment, ie can transmit all your information at 64QAM encoding. Not going to happen. More like 75Mbps peak at the site (still nifty), shared amongst its users.

    Also, minimum spectrum for LTE is 1.4MHz now - the 1.25MHz was changed a while ago.

  12. Jón Frímann Jónsson

    GSM phones today

    All GSM phones today, are at least two band. That is, 900/1800 Mhz. High end phones are quad band, that is 850/900/1800/1900. The article has it wrong when it says that T-Mobile users can't use 900Mhz, they can, if the service provider offers it.

    With time, all GSM networks are going to be converted to 3G networks. As 3G 900 is already starting in some countries in Europe. Finland already uses it, as an example. 3G on 1800Mhz is also going to be used in the future, but for the time being 3G is only going to be on 900/2100Mhz. In most places, only 2100Mhz.

  13. Mage Silver badge


    A 2.1GHz licence is NOT technology neutral. It's a 3G licence. LTE isn't 3G. 3G phones and modems will not work on LTE.

    So LTE needs to become well established outside of 2.1GHz

    A 3G operator needs a new licence for LTE.

    1800 is a GSM licence

    2100 is a 3G licence.

  14. Tezfair

    Also rural

    TMobile and Orange are the only 2 providers here in my part of North Devon that are reliable. Where I live only TMobile has a reliable signal (unless it rains then its down to 1 bar), hence they are my operator. It will be interesting to see if the next provider will be able to get a signal to work here.

    And bare in mind that in the summer the south wests population doubles. Thats a lot of holidaying handsets that will be out of signal for 2 weeks.

  15. Lloyd


    If no one buys it can I pull down the 15m mast they stuck at the bottom of my garden which knocked £15k off my house price?

  16. Craig 12


    I've been with T-Mobile 12 years! I don't want to change now :(

  17. JetSetJim


    While your post is currently correct, Ofcom are drawing up rules for the allowance of re-farming of radio spectrum into other technologies. The various operators will be allowed to gradually reduce GSM coverage as LTE ramps up (subject to as yet unspecified conditions)

  18. Mobile Boy
    Thumb Up

    Vodafone buying T Mobile is attractive option

    I agree that the purchase of T Mobile would be good for Vodafone.

    Whilst the network sharing agreement with 3 may seem like a complication at this point the opertaional cost saving this provides should not be underestimated.

    Vodafone entered a network share scenario with Orange in the past and are now doing similar with O2. They clearly see this as a viable route to cost reduction. Vodafone may see the network share between T Mobile and 3 as a more attractive option than any other as it is further advanced than any any other network share. 3 being a smaller competitor than Orange and O2 would also make a share with them potentially more attractive.

    Maybe the competitors will also see T Mobile as a route to greater spectrum and cost savings.

    This may come down to who currently has the deepest pockets.

  19. Andus McCoatover

    Digital Britain?

    That wouldn't be two fingers to Gordon Brown, would it?

    I was part of a team that designed and built a revolutionary - then - Mobile Mast (OK, basestation, but there surely are Daily Mail readers in our midst, Thinking Of The Children, who don't know the difference. (Mast/Basestation, not children. Perhaps).

    And, I don't wanna get involved in another 'mast debate' today. I had one earlier).

    I suggested we re-design the product for GSM450 - TV had just vacated the spectrum - but it was turned down. Pity - distance greater with less power.

    Sod it.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Below 1GHz spectrum - for coverage not speed.

    @Gideon and @JetSetJim. Agree 100pct.

    The 800MHz band has just been released by Ofcom for mobile broadband - LTE most likely. This and the GSM900 spectrum will NOT give high speed or very large capacity. It is needed for universal LTE coverage without inflating the cost, while the 1800, 2100 and 2600 MHz spectrum will ensure needed capacity and speed in populated areas.

    The GSM900 will be phased out over time and Ofcom will of course modify the licenses for LTE (or some other 4G tech) as needed.

    LTE tech will be released very soon into the market - faster than spectrum in the UK can be reallocated ? - and most new investments will likely be for 4G solutions.

    It would - IMHO - be much better to allocate/auction the 800MHz band and even refarmed GSM900 spectrum - as a percent of total capacity and not as physical frequencies bands.

    If - say - three telcos (A, B, C) should share the 800MHz band, each should not bid for 2 x 10 MHz, but for 33% of the total 2 x 30 MHz capacity. This will give a much more efficient utilisation of the limited and expensive bandwidth. If a particular 800MHz cell has few active customer from telco A and C, but many from B, then telco B customers can use the unused bandwidth of A and C for higher speed and more capacity.

    Telco A,B and C will and must still compete for customers. But they will share the operation the physical network or outsource the net-operation to a third party.

    Lars :)

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I'm confused

    Erm, sorry, but why would T-Mobile's partnership with Three cause Vodafone trouble? I thought one of the options they (Voda) were studying was partnering with Three to buy T-Mobile (2nd July - John Oates story on this very website).

    So, maybe I'm being naive, but surely if the were considering partnering with Three, then having to share infrastructure with them post-buy isn't really going to be a big deal. If they were considering a partnership then surely they've already been speaking to Three.

    Apart from anything else I would have thought that the savings to be made by sharing are still going to be there whether it's T-Mobile+Three or Vodafone+Three doing the deal.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @notso JetSet Jim

    "" 100Mbps for 20MHz - that's the theoretical maximum if you don't bother having such essentials as control channels and a scatty radio environment, ie can transmit all your information at 64QAM encoding. Not going to happen. More like 75Mbps peak at the site (still nifty), shared amongst its users.

    Also, minimum spectrum for LTE is 1.4MHz now - the 1.25MHz was changed a while ago.""


    Most Vendors are talking about initial deployments of around 160Mbps with 2X2 MIMO antennas, with 300Mbps+ when doubling that antenna count. Even with overhead peak will be >100Mbps.

    Minimum spectrum was not discussed here, the subject was tones per user, the minimum is 1.25MHz.

    Other than that, have to agreed that Voda and Telefonica would not have great interest in the spectrum per se, they would want to have an early test of the single operator spectrum caps. These caps are only a suggestion, not law at this stage, and it is not really tenable for a regulator to say that 1 operator (e.g. Orange) whould be allowed the same spectrum to offer service to 15 million subs, and e.g. Voda-T-Mobile to only be allowed to use the same spectrum for 30Million subs.

    In these circumstances the T-Mobile subscribers become worthless, they simply congest the network and lead to mass churn away.

  23. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    When the going gets tough, the going gets rough and real spooky

    "T-Mobile's new owner may find itself hosting the competition for years to come even if it ends up as the largest operator in the UK, and well placed for the decades ahead."

    How very perfect for some sublime content embedding in competitors .... and, of course, knowing their every shared thought ....... which would then be already known for Steganographic Control of Virtual Order ...... or Big Brother Chaos, if you are not so Good at ITs Games.

  24. Christopher Woods
    Thumb Down

    ...Ah. :(

    This would probably explain the complete lack of new HTC handsets released in a timely manner (Voda already has the Touch Pro 2, T-Mobile will probably never have it at this rate).

    This is a real shame for TMUK, and moreso for all their loyal contract customers. I really like them as a network, plus I got a very tasty renewal deal too which locked in my custom for another 18 months.

    I, like I suspect many other fellow geeks, jumped on their WnW services soon after it came out and I've been a happy TM customer ever since. I don't mind being sold to another network, but the one caveat of that is that I get to keep a package identical to what I have at the moment. Will that happen for all us (currently) happy customers? I somehow doubt it.

    Damnit, why do I have to begin shopping around yet again for a decent mobile deal! And I do NOT want to have to go back to O2, I left them in the first place because they were just utterly pisspoor!

  25. Rob

    @Chris Woods

    I feel your pain, I'm in the same boat, my renewal is up next month and I'm trying to get Touch Pro 2 sorted out through a 3rd party on T-Mobile. I don't really want to wait until this purchase sorts itself out before I buy/renew a phone.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Vodafone and T-Mobile

    For over 10 years I was a loyal customer of Vodafone. And the main reason was that their coverage in remote parts of the UK was exceptional. As a military officer constantly being posted to the corners of the country it was a great system. Then I moved to London and couldn't get signal in my flat and found that T-Mobile was better in the city. If they could synergise the networks to get the best of both extremes it would be fantastic. My suspicion is that they will end up with the worst of both though. Whilst 95% coverage was a big advertising feature in the early days of phones, it is now much more to do with high cost customers who are general business data users in the cities.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what about

    Am I the only one that has thought amounst all this talk of Vodafone and Telefonica purchasing the operator, that there is another player, albeit about a third of the size, Virgin Media.

    It's a perfect move for them as the switch over would be virtually seemless, a "simple" case of combining the T-Mobile and Virgin Mobile customers on the network systems, relatively easy as Vigin are currenly an MVNO on the T-Mobile network, T-Mobile already control everything already. I'm sure that this would cost a lot less than having to merge the four networks and two core systems.

    And the business potential is fantastic, start offering home broadband and mobile combination packages, perhaps with femotcells designed specifically for the Virgin Media broadband network. They could offer Mobile TV like sky to.

    Even better though is the fact that they could hook the cells up to their cable network rather than BT exchanges, I like the idea of fiber to cell.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like