Vodafone and Telefonica to Strengthen Network Partnership With 5G Sharing

Vodafone Telefonica 5G

The collaboration will extend O2 and Vodafone’s existing network sharing partnership term and include 5G at joint-radio network sites. 

Vodafone and Telefonica have joined forces to roll-out a “future-proof” network across the UK.

The collaboration will extend O2 and Vodafone’s existing network sharing partnership term and include 5G at joint-radio network sites.

Both companies said this will enable them to deploy 5G faster and to offer services to more customers over a wider geographic area. The deployment of 5G services will also be rolled out at a lower cost due to the partnership.

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.”

Both firms aim to extend greater network autonomy in a number of larger cities across the UK by deploying their own separate radio equipment at 2,500 sites – which equates to around 15% of sites outside London.

Greater autonomy will help improve flexibility among both parties, enabling them to meet customer needs more efficiently.

Read more: O2 Loss of Service Highlights “Gobsmacking” Contingency Failures 

In December last 2018, O2 customers across the UK were left without mobile data services during a day of disruption.

Third party software was identified as the source of the outage which saw thousands of customers and businesses unable to access internet services through their mobile devices.

This event raised questions over the resilience of mobile networks across the UK, with O2’s contingency plans coming under fire.

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Upgrades to transmission networks will also be a key component of the partnership, providing higher-capacity fibre cables across the UK. This will enable customers to benefit from 5G’s new features, such as low latency, as well as provide both firms with greater scale and an improved choice of infrastructure partners.

Both firms are exploring options surrounding their future transmission operating model, which could help drive synergies in the investment and operation of their end-to-end networks.

O2 and Vodafone further intend to devolve additional activities to CTIL, the 50:50 owned joint venture company that owns and manages the parties’ passive tower infrastructure.

This will allow CTIL to take an “enhanced role” in the operation of passive infrastructure, to improve the efficiency of its operations and pursue opportunities to add further third-party tenants to the towers.

Mark Evans, CEO, Telefonica 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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