Telecom giants Vodafone and O2 agree on 5G partnership in the UK

The two firms will deploy radio equipment across larger cities in the UK to offer greater network autonomy.

British telecom conglomerate, Vodafone Group plc has recently agreed on non-binding terms with O2’s parent company, Telefonica to offer 5G coverage from joint radio network sites in the UK that will eventually accelerate the deployment of 5G mobile services at a lower cost.

For the record, O2 is the second largest mobile network provider of the UK with more than 25 million subscribers and is owned by Spanish multinational telecommunications service provider Telefonica.

As per sources, Vodafone and O2 will install separate radio equipment across larger cities in the UK, at around 2,500 sites outside of London, in a move towards greater network self-sufficiency. The two firms also plan to upgrade their transmission networks with high capacity optical fiber cable.

In a joint statement, the two companies said that they are currently surveying options for the 5G transmission operating model, which could drive synergies in the operation and investment of its end-to-end networks.

The duo added that they will transfer additional activities to Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited (CTIL), a 50-50 owned joint venture firm that manages passive tower infrastructure for the firms.

According to Reuters, Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK, said that these plans will effectively generate significant benefits for their business and customers as it moves into the digital era of connected devices, systems and appliances on a large scale. He said that customers will take benefit from the 5G experience available at higher speeds.

Mark Evans, CEO, Telefonica UK was quoted saying that their firm is excited by the potential of these plans to meet the future needs of its customers while delivering value for its business. He said these plans would allow Telefonica to utilize the spectrum it acquired in the last auction more effectively.

Incidentally, the 5G partnership is subject to Vodafone and O2 agreeing on detailed terms, closing legally binding agreements and receiving all regulatory approvals. The duo said that they aim to conclude these plans before the end of 2019.