mmO2 to build European alliance

The mobile phone operator mmO2 yesterday unveiled an alliance with a raft of European operators that will enable them to offer a common service when customers travel abroad.

The tie-up, the second major alliance formed this year, should also help the companies to buy handsets more cheaply by increasing their bargaining power as well as allowing them to offer better roaming deals.

European operators are building alliances to offer subscribers seamless services, such as the same number to access voicemail. This would compete directly with Vodafone, which already has this facility because of its size and the number of countries it operates in. A spokesman for mmO2 said the Mobile Alliance planned to be "quick to market with new, innovative cross-border products and services as well as co-operate on initiatives, including technology, sourcing and sales".

Rudi Gröger, the head of mmO2's German operation, said: "The creation of this alliance will be excellent news for our customers as we will be able to offer an outstanding range of pan-European services, far greater than the members could alone."

The alliance includes Spain's Amena, Austria's One, Hungary's Pannon GSM, Switzerland's Sunrise, Italy's Wind and mmO2's operations in the UK, Ireland and Germany. The alliance is expected to eventually cover the United States and the Asia Pacific region.

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