Vodafone and Telefonica O2, two rival telecom operators in the UK, announced their 5G network sharing deal.
The strategy of Vodafone and O2 is to deploy 5G faster to more customers, ensure more 5G coverage at a lower cost. Vodafone and O2 compete with BT and BT-owned EE and Three Mobile in the UK telecom market.
Telecom regulator Ofcom assigned 5G spectrum to telecoms such as EE, Hutchison 3G, Telefonica and Vodafone in April 2018.
BT-owned EE has 5G spectrum in 3540 – 3580 MHz band. Hutchison 3G has 5G spectrum in 3460 – 3480 MHz frequencies. Telefonica has spectrum in 2350 – 2390 MHz and 3500 – 3540 MHz frequencies. Vodafone has been allocated the spectrum frequencies 3410 – 3460 MHz.
The latest IDC report said spending on 5G-related routing and optical backhaul will rise at CAGRs of 146.1 percent and 129.6 percent, respectively, over the forecast period of 2018-2022.
“Early 5G adopters are laying the groundwork for long-term success by investing in 5G RAN, NFVI, optical underlays, and next-generation routers and switches,” said Patrick Filkins, senior research analyst, IoT and Mobile Network Infrastructure at IDC.
Vodafone and O2 aim to extend network autonomy in larger cities by deploying their own separate radio equipment on approximately 2,500 sites, which represents around 15 percent of sites outside London.
Vodafone and O2 will make investment in upgrading their transmission networks with higher capacity optical fibre cables.
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.
Vodafone and O2 currently own CTIL, the 50:50 joint venture that manages passive tower infrastructure of Vodafone and O2. Vodafone and O2 will explore a monetisation of CTIL in the future.
Nick Jeffery, CEO of Vodafone UK, said: “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.”
Mark Evans, CEO of Telefonica UK, said: “These plans will allow us to utilise the spectrum we acquired in the last auction very effectively.”
Vodafone UK employs around 11,000 people across the UK, and operate more than 400 retail stores. O2, the largest mobile operator in the UK, has over 32 million connections. O2 has 6,700 employees and 450 retail stores.