Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Telefónica UK and Vodafone UK to Integrate 18,500 Cell Sites

Telefónica UK and Vodafone UK agreed to pool the basic parts of their network infrastructure to create one national grid running each operator’s independent spectrum. Plans call for creating a 50/50 joint venture company that would take ownership of basic network infrastructure, including towers and masts. There would be a single grid of 18,500 masts representing an increase in sites of more than 40% for each operator. The joint venture will also be responsible for the building of new sites needed to extend coverage into rural and remote areas. Duplicate sites would be decommissioned. Both companies will retain complete control over their wireless spectrum, intelligent core networks and customer data. They will continue to actively compete with each other in all products and services, enabled through the 'intelligent' parts of their networks.



Responsibility for design, management and maintenance of the radio equipment as well as backhaul would be split geographically. Telefónica UK will manage and maintain these elements in the East (including Northern Ireland and most of Scotland) and Vodafone UK in the West (including Wales).



The companies said this level of cooperation will lead to indoor 2G and 3G coverage targeting 98% of the UK population by 2015, delivering mobile coverage and mobile internet services to the vast majority of UK households. It will also ensure that 4G mobile services is rolled out as widely and rapidly as possible. The companies would continue to compete at the services layer.



Ronan Dunne, CEO Telefónica UK said: “Exceptional customer demand for the mobile internet has challenged the mobile industry to consider innovative solutions to building a nationwide network that will be fit for our customers in the future and support the products and services that will truly make Britain digital. This partnership is about working smarter as an industry, so that we can focus on what really matters to our customers – delivering a superfast network up to two years faster than Ofcom envisages and to as many people as possible. One physical grid, running independent networks, will mean greater efficiency, fewer site builds, broader coverage and, crucially, investment in innovation and better competition for the customer."



Guy Laurence, CEO Vodafone UK said: “This partnership will close the digital divide for millions of people across the country and power the next phase of the smartphone revolution. It will create two stronger players who will compete with each other and with other operators to bring the benefits of mobile internet services to consumers and businesses across the country. We have learned a lot from our existing network collaboration but now it is time for it to evolve. This partnership will improve the service that customers receive today and give Britain the 4G networks that it will need tomorrow."http://www.telefonica.com http://www.vodafone.com

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