Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL), the 3G network sharing joint-venture between UK mobile operators T-Mobile and 3, has awarded Ericsson a four-year managed services contract for the operation and maintenance of the consolidated network. Under the terms of the agreement, Ericsson will have responsibility for the operation and performance management of both operator’s 3G networks as well as T-Mobile UK’s 2G RAN infrastructure. In a statement, Ericsson said the deal will allow MBNL to control operational expenses and deliver high service levels at a time when the 3G network consolidation is moving into the mass deployment phase. Around 80 employees from T-Mobile have been transferred to Ericsson as part of the deal. The vendor already has separate managed services contracts in place with the two operators.
MBNL’s first integrated cell site was commissioned in early February, and it has since concluded a pilot in the Leeds and Bradford area. The joint-venture is aiming to create the UK’s most extensive 3G network by 2010, targeting “close to complete” nationwide population coverage for 3G services and significantly improved in-building signal strength. The collaboration also includes the decommissioning of an estimated 5,000 cell sites. Last month, MBNL selected Nokia Siemens Networks as its 3G network infrastructure supplier.