Vodafone Australia signs telecom network sharing deal with rival Optus

Telecom Lead Asia: Vodafone Australia has signed a telecom
network sharing deal with rival Optus.

The association will enable them to jointly build
hundreds of new mobile phone base stations.

The association between Vodafone and Optus is expected to
challenge the dominant mobile player Telstra.

The deal may attract the scrutiny of the competition
watchdog. Optus is the Australia’s second-biggest telecom operator, while Optus
is the third-largest.

Under Vodafone’s expanded network joint venture, the
mobile operator will access around 400 Optus base station sites, with the two
telcos set to build 500 more shared sites over the next four years.

Optus today announced a mobile infrastructure sharing
deal with Vodafone. This shows how Optus is leaving no stone unturned in minimizing
its cost structure. We are strong supporters of infrastructure sharing as the
industry moves into a LTE world. Events of the last two days show Optus is
re-positioning itself as a lean operator. This will help to cement its number
two position in the market as the alternative operator to Telstra,” said Nicole
McCormick, Ovum Principal Analyst, Telco Strategy.

“We’re responding to their demands by delivering a
better, faster, more reliable network across Australia. The expansion to our
coverage is a significant step forward and is part of our evolution toward
higher performance network speeds that will ultimately lead to our introduction
of 4G,'” said Vodafone’s chief executive Bill Morrow.

The deal would mean accelerated delivery of improved 3G
and new 4G services to his company’s customers, according to Kevin Russell,
chief executive of consumer, Optus.

The new sites mean an approximately 20 per cent increase
in the overall number of mobile sites on the Optus mobile network in the next
three years.

The deal also means the two telcos share the cost of
expanding mobile infrastructure.

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