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Vodafone and O2 complete UK 5G network agreement

Nick Jeffery Vodafone UK.jpg

Vodafone and O2 Telefónica have entered into an agreement to share 5G active equipment, such as radio antennas on joint network sites across the UK.

Through the partnership both companies will accelerate 5G deployments for the end user and help to build a competitive digital economy, encouraging innovative new services that uses 5G speeds and require greater reliability.

“We’re driving our 5G roll-out forward with this agreement, and taking our customers, our business and the whole of the UK with us,” said Nick Jeffery (pictured), CEO, Vodafone UK. “Greater autonomy in major cities will allow us to accelerate deployment, and together with active network sharing, ensures that our customers will get super-fast 5G in even more places more quickly, using fewer masts. We can boost capacity where our customers need it most so they can take full advantage of our new unlimited plans. And it demonstrates our commitment to further invest in our multi-billion pound network in the years to come, helping the UK become a digital pioneer.”

In addition to the network equipment sharing, the two have agreed to great 5G autonomy on approximately 2,700 sites in 23 of the UK’s larger cities, which represents over 16% of combined mast sites. This is addition to London, which was announced in 2018, bringing the total number of autonomous sites to 25%. Through this, both companies have increased flexibility to meet the needs of their customers and deploy future network technologies. At each site, both companies will install their own radio equipment, fibre backhaul connection and power supply.

“Today is an important step in demonstrating our commitment to invest for the future, with mobile connectivity one of the UK’s most powerful opportunities to strengthen the economy and improve the lives of British people,” added Mark Evans, CEO, Telefónica UK. “This agreement will enable us to roll-out 5G faster and more efficiently, benefiting customers while delivering value for our business. It also importantly allows us to utilise the spectrum we acquired in the last auction very effectively.”

This agreement will also see Cornerstone, the joint venture company that owns and manages both parties’ passive tower infrastructure, take an additional role in the deployment of both networks and find further operational efficiencies. Both Vodafone and O2 will also explore potential monetisation options for Cornerstone.