Orange and T-Mobile are considering building an entirely new UK network following their merger next month, it has been claimed.
T-Mobile has discussed the feasibility of building a network from scratch with Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei in the UK.
Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, parents of T-Mobile and Orange respectively, are considering purchasing new base stations to cover 900Mhz-26000Mhz bandwidths, enabling GSM, UMTS and LTE coverage.
New base station technology from infrastructure providers Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei use significantly less power than existing sites, and are also much cheaper to build.
T-Mobile was unavailable for comment. Orange said the joint venture will require engagement with infrastructure companies anyway, apparently dismissing the idea of a full re-build.
An Orange spokesperson said: "The proposed joint venture will have the biggest and best network in the UK. Combining the two networks, however, will be a significant integration project which would require expertise from the best in the market to guarantee a smooth and successful transition.
"For this reason we’d always be interested to speak to potential network partners who could help us offer the best in class network experience for our customers."
A leading analyst, however, gave credence to the idea the pair could rebuild an entire network from the ground up in a swift and cost effective manner, and save on the headache of integrating infrastructure of varying age and technology.
John Strand, chief executive of Strand Consult, said: "There is no reason why it won’t happen. The costs of building it will be marginal compared to previously. A new network would support 2G, 3G and LTE, which would mean it could offer faster speeds across its entire base before any of its rivals.
"Look at it this way, if you had an old computer would you keep paying to update or repair it, or simply by a new one. The price of infrastructure is declining fast. The cost of base stations is a minor part of building a network. What costs money is capacity to the base stations."
Such a move would replicate the work done by Telenor and Tele2 in Sweden, which announced in April 2009 a joint venture to build a 4G network and to share 900MHz-2600MHz frequency. They expect to cover 90 per cent of Sweden with LTE by the end of 2010. Chinese firm Huawei has been brought in to run the project.
Telenor is also rebuilding its networks in Norway and Denmark. 3 is doing the same in Austria.