Vodafone and O2 Telefónica UK (O2) announced that they have agreed to share 5G active equipment, such as radio antennas, on joint network sites across the UK. This means more people will get 5G sooner, helping to build a competitive digital economy and encouraging innovative new services that use 5G’s speed and greater reliability.
Network sharing reaps the benefits of 5G and at the same time reduces the impact on the environment and lowers roll-out costs allowing more investment in services for customers.
Vodafone and O2 have also agreed to greater 5G network autonomy on approximately 2,700 sites in 23 of the UK’s larger cities, representing just over 16% of combined mast sites. This is in addition to London – previously announced in 2018 – bringing the total number of autonomous sites to 25%. It gives both parties more flexibility to meet the needs of their customers and deploy future network technologies. At these sites, each party will install their own radio equipment, fibre ‘backhaul’ connection and power supply, whilst continuing to limit the environmental impact by sharing the physical elements such as the mast.
Today’s agreement will see Cornerstone, the 50:50 joint venture company that owns and manages the parties’ passive tower infrastructure, take an additional role in the deployment of both networks and look to capture further operational efficiencies. In addition, Vodafone and O2 will now proceed to explore potential monetisation options for Cornerstone.