Leading telecom operators Vodafone and Wind in Greece have reached an agreement to build fiber optic network for mutual benefit. The telecommunication companies on Monday announced their agreement to cooperate in planning and operating next-generation networks (NGNs), aiming to put pressure on the government, as well as dominant market player OTE telecom, which is building its own fiber network on the other side.
Vodafone-Wind cooperation will provide new enthusiasm in the telecom market in Greece, a country which lags behind its many European counterparts in terms of growth in ICT. The deployment of fiber optic networks would create jobs in the local market, which would benefit the country to regain from its financial turmoils. The expansion and upgrade of next-generation access (NGA) network offers extremely high-speed data transmission exceeding 100 Mbps.
Greek telecommunication authorities have plans in accordance with European Digital Agenda to deploy faster broadband services to residents and businesses. The European Commission has set a target for the members of the European Union to shift to the Gigabit society by 2020 and is aiming at a data speed of 30 Mbps. At least half of the broadband connections will have a speed of 100 Mbps. The network would be based on fiber optic cables. Data released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that in June 2015 only 0.2 percent of connections in Greece used fiber optic network with an average speed of 100 Mbps.
Vodafone and Wind issued official statements saying they will cooperate for Greece to achieve that target. They have signed a memorandum of understanding and have announced investment plans of 1 billion euros, mainly concerning NGNs in landline telephony.
Their move aims to counter OTE’s plans for the development of very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) networks, which has extended OTE’s dominance as its rivals are forced to resell its services based partly on conventional metal cables. Wind and Vodafone also expect to utilize government funds of 400 million euros destined for NGNs.
Hellenic Telecommunications Organization S.A. known by its Greek initials OTE, is the dominant telecommunications provider in Greece. OTE with its subsidiaries is one of the largest telecom groups in South-Eastern Europe. OTE Group offers broadband services, fixed and mobile telephony, high-speed data communications and leased lines services. In addition, the Group in Greece is involved in a range of activities, notably satellite communications, real-estate, and professional training. OTE Group companies employ about 30,000 people in 4 countries. OTE was a state-owned monopoly whose privatization started in 1996.