UK’s telecommunication service providers Vodafone and O2 (Telefonica UK) have revealed their plans for more deeper levels of collaboration to share 5G services apart from network sharing. Their subscribers in the UK will be beneficiaries of the partnership.
Both companies have agreed on non-binding heads of terms and intent to extend current network sharing agreement to include 5G at joint radio network sites. The partners will jointly investigate options to deliver a shared, future proof fibre transmission network and have agreed to explore options to expand their jointly passive tower infrastructure in the UK.
The agreement would enable both O2 and Vodafone to deploy 5G faster, to offer 5G services to more customers over a wider geographic area, and to do so at a lower cost. Additionally, both partners will look to extend greater network autonomy in a number of larger cities by deploying their own separate radio equipment on approximately 2,500 sites. This will give them even greater flexibility to meet the needs of their customers.
The companies also intend to upgrade their transmission networks with higher capacity optical fibre cables. It is expected that the 5G technology will squeeze the existing backbone fiber cable capacities. Some part of the backbone infrastructure may need to redesign or use of high-capacity transmission equipment.
Deployment of high bandwidth, high-speed backbone would enable the subscribers to benefit from 5G’s new features, such as low latency, as well as provide both companies with greater economies of scale and an improved choice of infrastructure partners. O2 and Vodafone are also exploring options around their future transmission operating model which could drive synergies in the investment and operation of their end-to-end networks.
The partners also 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 empower CTIL to take an enhanced role in the operation of the passive infrastructure, in order to improve the efficiency of its operations and pursue opportunities to add further third-party tenants to the towers.
O2 is into the mobile market and is a principal commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited, which is part of the global telecommunications group Telefónica S.A, headquartered in Spain. Telefonica has operations in Europe and on the American continent.
Vodafone UK’s services span mobile, fixed line, broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT). Vodafone has made the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G and has the distinction of being the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. Vodafone serves over 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK with 4G services. Vodafone is also rolling out full fibre broadband across 10 cities in partnership with CityFibre and plans to reach one million homes and business by 2021.