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European mobile phone operators form alliance

Agreement could cut cost of roaming for customers

Three of Europe's largest mobile phone operators have formed an alliance to offer simplified cross-border services to business and private customers in a bid to counter the growing market domination of Vodafone.

Telefónica Móviles, Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) and T-Mobile announced the alliance today in a joint statement.

Under the deal, Telefónica, TIM and T-Mobile will offer customers uniform voice and data services and discounted fees across the markets in which they operate in Europe, the US and Latin America. The total customer base of the three operators combined is more than 162 million in 25 countries.

In a first step, the group plans to offer new roaming services and fees for voice and data services, such as GPRS (general packet radio service) and MMS (multimedia messaging service).

For example, TIM customers travelling to the US would be able to use their mobile phones to make calls, send and receive email and communicate with the corporate intranet in exactly the same way they would in Italy. In the US, T-Mobile operates a network based on the same GSM (global system for mobile communications) technology as all mobile networks in Europe.

Additionally, Telefónica, TIM and T-Mobile expect to bundle their handset activities not only to strike better deals with handset manufacturers, but also to help develop new phones and wireless devices.


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