'More people will get 5G sooner', vows Vodafone and O2 as they firm up deal to share equipment


‘More people will get 5G sooner’ vow Vodafone and O2 as they seal deal to share equipment in a bid to take on rival EE

  • Sharing equipment will also enable the pair to cut costs involved with roll out 
  • O2 targeting Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London initially with more to follow
  • Vodafone bringing its 5G offering to 19 towns and cities by the end of year

Vodafone and O2 have firmed up a deal to share equipment like radio antennas in a bid to speed up the roll out of 5G broadband services across Britain.

Bosses at the two telecoms giants hope sharing equipment will enable them to take on bigger rival EE and cut the need for vast numbers of masts and towers to be constructed in cities up and down the country.

The two companies added that sharing equipment would enable them to cut their roll out costs, ‘allowing more investment in services for customers.’ 

Speeding up: Vodafone and O2 have firmed up a deal to share equipment like radio antennas in a bid to speed up the roll out of 5G broadband services

Speeding up: Vodafone and O2 have firmed up a deal to share equipment like radio antennas in a bid to speed up the roll out of 5G broadband services

In February, O2 revealed that its 5G roll out would span Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London initially, with other areas due in 2020.

Vodafone launched its 5G service in March across Bristol, Cardiff and Liverpool, with 19 towns and cities expected to have access to the superfast broadband service by the end of the year. 

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However, take-up of 5G is expected to be slow this year, with a limited number of handsets available to connect to the superfast speeds.

The firmed up deal announced today will see Vodafone and O2 share around 2,700 sites in 23 cities across the country, representing around 16 per cent of combined mast sites.

Combined with a mast-sharing deal in London announced last year, Vodafone and O2, which is owned by Spanish business Telefonica, will end up controlling around one in four 5G sites across the country.

Nick Jeffery, chief executive of Vodafone UK, said: ‘We’re driving our 5G roll-out forward with this agreement, and taking our customers, our business and the whole of the UK with us.

5G: In February, O2 revealed that its 5G roll out would span Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London initially

5G: In February, O2 revealed that its 5G roll out would span Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London initially

‘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.’ 

Mark Evans, chief executive of Telefonica UK, said: ‘Today is an important step in demonstrating our commitment to invest for the future, with mobile connectivity one of the UK’s most powerful opportunities to strengthen the economy and improve the lives of British people.’

Today’s deal extends the 50:50 network sharing agreement created between 02 and Vodafone, which is managed by infrastructure services group Cornerstone.  

The companies said they intended to ‘proceed to explore potential monetisation options for Cornerstone.’

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