Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Swedish 4G network sharing: signposting the new mobile broadband battleground

A press release just out this morning confirms that Telenor and Tele2 will pool their resources for a joint 4G deployment in Sweden. According to the press release: "The agreement includes the formation of a joint venture for network construction and sharing of spectrum for mobile communication". Other than specifying that the spectrum sharing will be in the 900MHz and 2.6GHz bands, there's not a lot else to report. This all sounds rather familiar. Tele2 is - of course - also a 50% shareholder in the Svenska UMTS Nät AB (SUNAB) joint venture with TeliaSonera, which runs the shared 3G network of the two operators.

As I commented in a discussion on UK network sharing in March there will be a complex web of inter-related network sharing and joint ventures between operators, aimed at reducing network overheads while at the same time ensuring the ability to differentiate. This introduces a new key success factor in the mobile broadband space: the ability to negotiate a network sharing deal. Having 'the best network' is no guarantee of providing the best service. In future, the #1 spot may go to the company with the most aggressively negotiated network sharing deals.

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