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O2 and Vodafone finalise 5G agreement

Paul Lipscombe
July 24, 2019

The agreement has been described as an important step in the UK’s digital future

O2 and Vodafone have today (July 24) finalised an agreement to share 5G equipment in an effort to speed up the roll-out of the network. 

The two operators already have an existing 50:50 joint venture agreement when it comes to network sharing. 

Both operators hope that the agreement in place will lead to quicker 5G deployment and help contribute towards the digital economy and encourage innovation. 

As part of the agreement, the two operators have also agreed to more 5G network autonomy on approximately 2,700 sites in 23 of the UK’s larger cities, which represents just over 16pc of combined mast sites. 

This is aimed to give both O2 and Vodafone more flexibility, while each operator will install its own radio equipment, fibre ‘backhaul’ connection and power supply at each site. 

Cornerstone currently manage the 50:50 joint venture and will take an additional role in the deployment for both networks, while looking to enhance more operational efficiencies. 

Both operators will also explore possible monetisation options for Cornerstone. 

Telefonica UK CEO Mark Evans has called the agreement an “important step” in the UK’s connected future. 

“This agreement will enable us to roll-out 5G faster and more efficiently, benefitting customers while delivering value for our business. It also importantly allows us to utilise the spectrum we acquired in the last launch very effectively.” 

Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery added: “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.”

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