Everything Everywhere has announced that the next stage of the "big switch-on" will be starting next week, this time bringing 3G sharing to 27 million Orange and T-Mobile customers.

The initiative to combine mobile networks and allow Orange and T-Mobile customers to take advantage of the other's network was announced back in September 2010, extending coverage across the 2G network. 

To enable sharing, customers have to opt-in following an alert via text message, as well as enabling roaming in the settings on their phone. The move to sharing 3G infrastructure will bring more benefits to smartphone users wanting their daily data fix.

Everything Everywhere tells us that almost 41 million hours of calls have taken place on the other brand's network, the cost of which remains the same for the customer.

The 3G switch-on will take place region by region over the next few months.

"This is a significant achievement and demonstrates the latest milestone in our network vision and customer promise - to provide more things, to more people in more places than any other company in Britain", said Olaf Swantee, CEO of Everything Everywhere.

"Customers are always on the move and demanding instant access to information wherever they are. Not only will customers be able to talk in places they weren’t able to before, they’ll also now be able to access the Internet, social networks or download emails at improved speeds, in more places."