Further setbacks for 3G rollout in EU
Developments in Italy and Ireland have highlighted the difficulties involved in rolling out third generation (3G) mobile communications in the European Union. The technology is seen as one of the elements needed for creating an information society, providing web and e-mail applications, and on a roaming basis. The Italian operator Omnitel, which is owned by Vodafone, has cited a lack of handsets as one of the main reasons why it has stalled the rollout of commercial 3G services in Italy until May 2003. In Ireland, where only three companies applied for the 3G licences on offer, operator O2 has confirmed that it wants to share the cost of constructing a 3G network. The costs of establishing the network would mean that the company would seek an alliance, possibly with Vodafone. A similar arrangement to share 3G infrastructure costs in Germany has been approved by the European Commission between O2's parent company, mmO2 and T-mobile.