Network sharing agreement for UK mobile companies, Vodafone and O2 ahead of new 5G rollout.
Mobile networks, Vodafone and O2 have entered into a non-binding agreement to extend the existing network sharing partnership term and include 5G at joint radio network sites.
This would enable both companies to offer 5G services to more customers over a wider geographic area and to do so at a lower cost and a faster rate.
In order to further meet the needs of their customers, by providing greater flexibility, Vodafone and O2 are also investigating ways in which they can work together.
By deploying their own separate radio equipment on approximately 2,500 sites, this represents around 15% of sites outside London and would future-proof their fibre transmission network.
The mobile networks are also planning upgrades to the transmission networks, including higher capacity optical fibre cables. This would enable customers to benefit from 5G’s new features, such as low latency. It would also provide both companies with greater economies of scale and an improved choice of infrastructure partners.
Vodafone and O2 are also exploring options around their future transmission operating model which could drive synergies in the investment and operation of their end-to-end networks.
There is also an agreement in place to explore options that will enhance the 50:50 jointly owned passive tower infrastructure, CTIL. A move like this will empower CTIL to take an enhanced role in the operation of the passive infrastructure, in order to improve the efficiency of its operations. It would also look to add further third-party tenants to the towers, allowing possible monetisation of CTIL.
These initiatives are subject to the parties agreeing on detailed terms, concluding legally binding agreements and receiving all necessary regulatory approvals. Vodafone and O2 aim to conclude these steps during 2019.
Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK, said:
“We believe that these plans will generate significant benefits for our business and our customers as we move into the digital era of connected devices, appliances and systems on a mass scale. Customers will benefit from the best 5G experience available and we will deliver even faster speeds by using our spectrum holding more effectively.”
Mark Evans, CEO, Telefónica UK, said:
“I’m excited by the potential of these plans to meet the future needs of our customers while delivering value for our business. In addition, these plans would allow us to utilise the spectrum we acquired in the last auction very effectively.”
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