Capacity expansion and service improvements for One2One mobile telecommunication services in the UK are being supported with a £300 million (1) European Investment Bank loan. The finance is for investment to upgrade the company's current GSM system and to introduce new "packet-switched" GPRS technology (General Packet Radio Service), an enhancement of existing second generation GSM technology.
The loan goes to One2One Personal Communications Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG (Germany).
EIB Vice-President, Peter Sedgwick said: "The EIB has long supported investment in the telecommunications sector as essential for underpinning economic growth in the European Union. As well as introducing a strong competitive element in the UK mobile market, the investment will ensure service quality at economic prices. The project will also contribute towards the EU's aim of building a new competitive knowledge based economy".
The investment will enable One2One to develop its GSM network into a mobile information system with easier, faster access to mobile broadband multimedia applications, including Internet. The upgraded service will be progressively rolled-out from major urban areas, and be made widely available, including in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The aim is to maximise the benefits of existing GSM investments, allowing customers eventually to upgrade seamlessly to broadband multimedia usage; future third-generation technology will use the upgraded GSM/GPRS infrastructure. The network will have additional capacity for existing and new subscribers
The European Investment Bank, the European Union's long-term lending institution, finances capital investment furthering EU integration, in particular: regional development, trans-European networks in transport, telecoms and energy; industrial competitiveness and integration; SMEs; environmental protection; and energy security. It also operates outside the EU within the framework of the EU's co-operation external policy. Owned by the Member States, the EIB raises its funds on capital markets (AAA issuer). In 2000, the EIB lent some EUR 36 billion, of which EUR 3.3 billion (some £ 2.1 billion) in the UK.
One 2 One
The One 2 One service covers in excess of 98% of the UK's population and is available in 97 territories on five continents through roaming agreements with 221 operators. Total customer base as at 31st March 2001 was 8,980,878, giving One 2 One a 20.7% share of the UK market. The One 2 One network currently handles over 285 million calls each week.
(1) 1 EUR = 0.6069 GBP