Rating: If everything goes to plan they’ll combine physical infrastructures
It’s a move with the biggest benefit being that the two UK network operators involved – Vodafone and O2 (Telefónica UK), get to create a 4G network pretty quickly, the pair has announced plans to pool the basic parts of their network infrastructure. This would create one national grid running each of the operator’s independent spectrum. This kind of thing has been going on for a while. 3 UK famously allied with T-Mobile which then got complicated when T-Mobile and Orange combined to create Everything Everywhere. It also builds on an existing arrangement between Vodafone and O2 (called Cornerstone) in which they could basically share their structures/masts – but not the basic underlying backbone network infrastructure.Now there are a number of unexpected benefits to be derived from the plans to create a single Vodafone/02 backbone network.
One side-effect which will get buried is that as a result, the two companies should experience an over 10 per cent overall reduction in the total number of sites in the UK.
GoMobile News reckons the pair should really pump that one up. It kind of sticks two fingers up at the mast-hating brigades.
Anyway, what the pair are stressing is that this arrangement should mean that 98 per cent of the indoor population would have coverage across 2G and 3G by 2015.
Vodafone and O2 point out that proposals for one of the 4G licences operating at 800MHz (to be auctioned by the UK government) should have an indoor coverage obligation of 98 per cent of the population (at a speed of at least 2 Mbit/s) by 2017.
So hopefully the pair could be two years early.
GoMobile News reckons that some readers should read Ofcom’s ‘Second consultation on assessment of future mobile competition and proposals for the award of 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum and related issues (January 2012)’ here.
That’s because the pair are none to happy about Orange’s efforts to install 4G through a back door opening. See our previous story here.
Incidentally Orange complained bitterly about that story so you’ll have to read this one as well.
Anyway, if allowed to go ahead, this move would create a new 50/50 joint venture company through the consolidation of both Telefónica UK and Vodafone UK’s existing basic network infrastructure.
We hope that this joint venture works better than some other 50/50 ventures between operators which the UK has witnessed.