Vodafone and O2 agree 5G network sharing deal in the UK
Vodafone and O2 have announced plans to share a range of 5G network architecture, including radio antennas, base stations and joint network sites across the UK.
The UK's second and third-biggest mobile network operators say that the deal will dramatically reduce the cost of their respective 5G deployments.
In addition to delivering cost-saving synergies, the deal is also expected to expedite both operators plans for 5G rollout in the UK. Vodafone has already deployed next-generation mobile network services across the UK, while O2 is expected to begin its own rollout later this year.
“We’re driving our 5G roll-out forward with this agreement, and taking our customers, our business and the whole of the UK with us. Greater autonomy in major cities will allow us to accelerate deployment, and together with active network sharing, ensures that our customers will get super-fast 5G in even more places more quickly, using fewer masts. We can boost capacity where our customers need it most so they can take full advantage of our new unlimited plans. And it demonstrates our commitment to further invest in our multi-billion pound network in the years to come, helping the UK become a digital pioneer,” said Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK.
As part of the deal, Cornerstone, the 50:50 joint venture company that owns and manages the telcos' tower infrastructure, will play a more prominent role in the deployment of both companies' 5G networks.
“This a natural extension to the existing partnership. It makes sense as all providers are keen to accelerate the rollout of 5G networks. Far more effective to partner to solely roll out a new generation mobile network,” said Paolo Pescatore, Tech, Media and Telco Analyst at PP Foresight.
“Telcos needs to be wary and smarter with their network investment. Bottom line, the business model for 5G is unproven so it will be extremely challenging for telcos to recoup the huge investment in the short to medium term,” he added.
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