Vodafone and TIM have signed a partnership for active network sharing and an expansion of their existing passive sharing agreement.
The Companies are also evaluating the feasibility and merits of a potential business combination of their respective passive towers located in Italy into a single entity. To facilitate the discussions around the Initiatives, Vodafone and TIM have entered into an exclusivity agreement.
With reference to the Active Sharing Project, Vodafone and TIM intend to enter into an agreement that would enable them to jointly roll-out 5G infrastructure. The Active Sharing Project would support a faster deployment of 5G over a wider geographic area, at a lower cost. The Parties will evaluate the technical and commercial feasibility of jointly deploying active 5G equipment across the country, including certain larger cities where each party may wish to retain strategic flexibility and ensure that they are able to meet the needs of their respective customers.
Vodafone and TIM also intend to consider active network sharing for their existing 4G networks, in order to support 5G active network sharing; this may also generate further efficiencies. Furthermore, Vodafone and TIM intend to upgrade their respective mobile transmission networks, adding higher capacity optical fibre cables for backhaul.
This would enable customers to benefit from 5G’s new features, such as faster speeds and low latency, as well as provide both companies with greater economies of scale.The Parties intend to extend the existing Passive Sharing Agreement, from approximately 10,000 sites today (approximately 45% of the Parties’ combined passive towers), to a nationwide agreement.
The objective is to accelerate and enhance the deployment of 5G technology and use network infrastructure more efficiently, both in urban and rural areas. Vodafone and TIM have also agreed to explore a potential transaction that would entail the companies consolidating their 22,000 passive towers located in Italy into a single entity, potentially combining Vodafone’s passive tower infrastructure with the infrastructure of Inwit, the 60%-owned and publicly listed tower subsidiary of TIM.