Vodafone and O2 finalise 5G network sharing agreement

Vodafone and O2 have agreed to share 5G active equipment on joint network sites across the UK.

This is expected to speed up their rollout of 5G services to their customer base, reduce the impact of their operations on the environment and lower rollout costs (compared with a scenario in which both operators deploy fully separate networks).

They have also agreed to “greater 5G network autonomy” on roughly 2,700 sites in 23 of the UK’s larger cities – equivalent to just over 16 per cent of their combined mast sites. This is addition to that announced for London, announced in 2019, and will bring the total proportion of autonomous sites to 25 per cent. At these sites, both companies will have their own radio equipment, fibre backhaul and power supply, but will still share physical elements such as the mast.

As part of the agreement, Cornerstone (their 50:50 joint venture company that owns their passive tower infrastructure), will take an additional role in the deployment of both networks and seek to generate further operational efficiencies. Vodafone and O2 will start to explore potential monetisation operations for Cornerstone.

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