Vodafone UK and O2 Telefonica UK have agreed to share 5G active equipment, such as radio antennas, on joint network sites across the UK.
Vodafone and O2 have also agreed to greater 5G network autonomy on approximately 2,700 sites in 23 of the UK’s larger cities, representing over 16 percent of combined mast sites. This is in addition to London – previously announced in 2018 – bringing the total number of autonomous sites to 25 percent.
Vodafone and O2 will install their own radio equipment, fibre backhaul connection and power supply at these sites.
Cornerstone, the 50-50 joint venture of Vodafone and O2 for managing the passive tower infrastructure, will take an additional role in the deployment of both networks and look to capture operational efficiencies.
In addition, Vodafone and O2 will now proceed to explore potential monetisation options for Cornerstone.
Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK, said: “Greater autonomy in major cities will allow us to accelerate deployment of 5G network, and together with active network sharing, ensures that our customers will get super-fast 5G in even more places more quickly, using fewer masts.”
Mark Evans, CEO of Telefonica UK, said: “This agreement will enable us to roll-out 5G faster and more efficiently.”
Meanwhile, Telecom Italia (TIM) is expected to announce on Friday a deal with rival Vodafone to merge their tower infrastructure and jointly deploy 5G mobile technology in Italy, Reuters reported.
TIM and Vodafone will have equal share-holdings and governance rights in INWIT, the mast group 60 percent owned by Telecom Italia.
TIM SA and Telefonica Brasil SA (Vivo) have signed a memorandum of understanding to initiate discussions on 2G network sharing and new 4G network infrastructure sharing agreements in the 700 MHz band, aimed at cities with less than 30 thousand inhabitants.