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Press Release | 24 Jul 2019

Vodafone and O2 finalise 5G network agreement in the UK

Vodafone and O2 finalise 5G network agreement in the UK
  • Agreement reached to speed up 5G roll-out with new site sharing across the UK.
  • Each party have also agreed to greater 5G autonomy for 2,700 sites in larger cities.
  • Proceeding to explore potential monetisation options for the parties’ 50:50 jointly owned passive tower infrastructure.

Vodafone Limited (“Vodafone”) and O2 Telefónica UK Limited (“O2”) today 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.

Nick Jeffery, CEO, 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. 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.”

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

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About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed line connections, home and office broadband and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Having made the UK’s first mobile phone call and sent the first text message, Vodafone has a history as a tech pioneer. In 2018 we made the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G, and were first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. We now have 5G in more places than anyone else, with multiple locations now live across the UK and the rest of Europe.

Today we serve more than 18 million mobile and fixed line customers in the UK, with 4G network coverage at 99%.  Our customers voted us the UK’s Best Mobile Network at the 2018 Trusted Reviews Awards – for the second year in a row. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Connectivity is at the heart of what we do as it gives us a huge opportunity for good. We are using our network, products, talents and technology to help society prosper and respond to significant social and environmental issues.  Our free Digital Parenting magazine is helping families and schools across the UK to navigate the online world safely. Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation’s work with researchers at Imperial College is developing personalised cancer treatment using the processing power of smartphones.

We are part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest technology communications companies, with mobile operations in 26 countries, partnerships with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets.  As of 30 September 2019, Vodafone Group had approximately 625 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed broadband customers, and 22 million TV customers – including all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk

 

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

Registered in England No: 1471587