3's network coverage fiasco is coming to an end, they have already launched an upgrade of the network (this is probably the merger of there infrastructure of T-Mobile's 3G network.
A trial scheme has been carried out in Leeds and now London is next over November and December, it will be complete and a much stronger 3G network coverage will be available.
MBNL (Mobile Broadband Network Limited) is a new company which owns the merged infrastructure between 3(Hutchison 3G UK) and T-Mobile UK's 3G network.
MBNL is a joint venture between Hutchison 3G UK and T-Mobile UK.
What will happen after/if the Orange and T-Mobile networks merge?
Well PROBABLY, certain Orange 3G sites will be decommisioned as they will be of no use in certain areas where there are already a number of sites operated by MBNL.
the 2G sites provided by Orange and T-Mobile will eventually be merged and any unecessary sites or sites which cause problems for users will probably decommisioned or sold to other networks or broadcasting firms such as Arquiva for alternative use.
The merged Orange-T-Mobile company will continue to own 50% of MBNL.
And what will happen to 2G coverage on 3 Mobile handsets? Well,if the 3G network coverage provided by MBNL becomes strong enough, then there will be no need for the 2G back up provided by Orange and 3 will stop leasing the network,which means cost reduction for 3.
So that just leaves O2 and Vodafone with a lot of catching up to do, perhaps a similar deal could be struck similar to MBNL. Alternatively, as Vodafone is falling further behind Orange and O2, maybe Vodafone could take over O2, if so that would leave 3 main networks; Hutchison 3G,Vodafone and Orange/T-Mobile.
It would seem Hutchison 3G is making one last attempt at the UK market by promoting its 'better' network coverage, if this fails to win over any customers, then it is likely they will leave the UK market.