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Press Release | 23 Jan 2019

Vodafone and Telefónica to strengthen their network partnership in the UK with 5G sharing

Vodafone and Telefónica to strengthen their network partnership in the UK with 5G sharing
  • Companies have agreed non-binding heads of terms
  • Intention to extend current network sharing agreement to include 5G
  • Investigating options to deliver a shared, future proof fibre transmission network
  • Agreement to explore options to enhance the parties’ 50:50 jointly owned passive tower infrastructure

Vodafone Limited (“Vodafone”) and Telefónica UK Limited (“O2”) have entered into non-binding heads of terms intended to strengthen their existing network sharing partnership.

Vodafone and O2 plan to extend the existing network sharing partnership term and include 5G at joint radio network sites. This would enable both Vodafone and O2 to deploy 5G faster, to offer 5G services to more customers over a wider geographic area, and to do so at a lower cost.

In addition, both parties will look to extend greater network autonomy in a number of larger cities by deploying their own separate radio equipment on approximately 2,500 sites, which represents around 15% of sites outside London. This will give them even greater flexibility to meet the needs of their customers.

The companies also intend to upgrade their transmission networks with higher capacity optical fibre cables. This would enable customers to benefit from 5G’s new features, such as low latency, as well as provide both companies with greater economies of scale and an improved choice of infrastructure partners. Vodafone and O2 are also exploring options around their future transmission operating model which could drive synergies in the investment and operation of their end-to-end networks.

Vodafone and O2 further intend to devolve additional activities to CTIL, the 50:50 owned joint venture company that owns and manages the parties’ passive tower infrastructure. This will empower CTIL to take an enhanced role in the operation of the passive infrastructure, in order to improve the efficiency of its operations and pursue opportunities to add further third party tenants to the towers. In that context, the parties will explore a potential monetisation of CTIL after the new arrangements have been finalised.

The initiatives set out in the non-binding heads of terms, and described in this announcement, remain subject to the parties agreeing detailed terms, concluding legally binding agreements and receiving all necessary regulatory approvals. Vodafone and O2 aim to conclude these steps during 2019.

Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK, said: “We believe that these plans will generate significant benefits for our business and our customers as we move into the digital era of connected devices, appliances and systems on a mass scale. Customers will benefit from the best 5G experience available and we will deliver even faster speeds by using our spectrum holding more effectively.”

Mark Evans, CEO, Telefónica UK, said: “I’m excited by the potential of these plans to meet the future needs of our customers while delivering value for our business.  In addition, these plans would allow us to utilise the spectrum we acquired in the last auction very effectively.”

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that 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).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were also the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. As of October 2020, we have 5G in 57 locations in the UK and 193 across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland.

In September 2020, leading mobile benchmarking company, umlaut, named Vodafone as London’s best network for 5G. Our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population. And in October 2020, Vodafone was named Network Provider of the Year by readers of leading technology advice website, Trusted Reviews.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. 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.

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

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Email: ukmediarelations@vodafone.com

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