Mobile boss to hold talks over shared network

BRITAIN’S four mobile operators could reach a deal in the next few months that would see them share each others’ networks in the event of blackouts, the boss of the UK’s most popular network has said.

Olaf Swantee, the chief executive of EE, told City A.M.: “I've suggested to my competitors that we talk about what are some of the emergency measures that we could put in place [in the case of outages].

“In the next couple of weeks hopefully we can have some of these discussions in this area,” he said, adding that he hoped a solution would be finalised next year.

EE, which owns Orange and T-Mobile and is set to launch its high speed 4G mobile internet network, has 27m customers, meaning it would face the biggest fallout from the sort of outage that has plagued O2 over the summer. O2 has seen two blackouts in three months, affecting millions of customers.

Swantee suggested that there is more scope for the operators to work together after years of fighting between the companies. The UK’s four major operators – EE, O2, Vodafone and Three – recently agreed to a timetable for the rollout of 4G over the next year, putting an end to years of legal threats.

“We don’t need peace to have an industry that works well, we can have a very competitive environment but what you do need is an industry that doesn't use lawyers all the time to slow things down,” Swantee said.

“I hope we are beyond that and I think so. I think the industry has certainly learned.”

EE’s 4G network will launch tomorrow.