Vodafone and O2’s plan to pool their networks could bring cheaper calls to millions of mobile phone users, according to reports.
Under plans revealed by the networks earlier this month, their networks will be merged, with the costs of constructing new mast sites shared between them.
According to a spokesperson for the mobile phone networks, this could result in "cost savings amounting to hundreds of millions of pounds for both companies over the next ten years".
The reduction in operating costs could then potentially be passed on to customers in the form of cheaper calls.
It is also predicted that the scheme could mean better coverage for customers in rural areas and would benefit the environment by limiting the number of new masts that are needed.
Industry experts have suggested that the merger has been driven in part by the economic downturn, which has hit handset sales and has made consumers less inclined to commit to lengthy, costly contracts.
Vodafone and O2 claim that they will manage traffic independently once the networks have been pooled.