Vodafone and 02 appear to be near completing a network sharing deal that will involve most sites and technology. The deal covers 2G, 3G as well as transmission and data sites.
The network sharing deal is part of a move to save costs on infrastructure while making considerable improvements to both networks.
The people who seem to come out losers on this deal are Orange ,who signed a network sharing deal with Vodafone back in 2007, but that deal seems to have come to a halt for one reason or another and now looks as if it is dead in the water. This new project with 02 codenamed “Cornerstone” will supercede the deal with Orange, which only involved the sharing of sites, but not transmission.
A spokesman for Orange said: “Orange has a network sharing agreement with Vodafone in the UK to share sites. At this time we have no plans to change that, and look forward to continuing our plans with Vodafone in the future.’
Orange group CEO Olaf Swantee said last month: ‘What one operator cannot achieve, several can through co-operation.”
There will be a review on the sites between Vodafone and Orange with a large number being decommissioned under the scheme, as Vodafone shift their focus to concentrate on the new project with 02.
The Orange spokesman referred to opportunities from Ofcom’s recent Digital Britain report, adding: ‘These could see us open up additional bi-lateral or multi-lateral partnerships with other operators in the future, at both a UK and international level.
Part of the new deal between the two networks will see their ambitions of having high speed networks for mobile broadband and other 3G services realised more quickly.
In the past 02 have come under fire for the poor 3G coverage it offers in comparison to other operators.O2’s UK CEO Ronan Dunne was quoted last year as saying that O2 would use its network as a ‘key component to differentiate from the competition’, and that potential cost savings from network sharing were exaggerated.” So it would seem he’s changed his view on that since last year!
Rival operators T-Mobile and 3 have a network sharing scheme that has been in place for around 18 months now where the two operators share HDSPA networks, which they expect to yield savings of £2bn over the next ten years.