Czech T-Mobile and Telefónica plan to share LTE networks

T-Mobile Czech Republic signed an LTE network-sharing agreement with rival operator Telefónica Czech Republic to help both operators improve coverage and services while limiting costs.

The two operators said they will continue to use their own network infrastructures and maintain independent business strategies in future, thereby meeting the terms of last year's spectrum auction.

The agreement brings to a successful conclusion negotiations that have been ongoing between the two operators since the end of February.

"This is an important strategic step following the agreement on the sharing of existing 2G and 3G access networks," said Milan Vašina, CEO of T-Mobile Czech Republic.

Vašina added that the cooperation would bring savings that would allow the companies to further invest in their networks and services.

Luis Malvido, CEO of Telefónica Czech Republic, which operates under the O2 brand, noted that the two companies are taking part in a broader trend in Europe that has seen similar successful network-sharing partnerships in the UK, Sweden and France.

The companies plan to start commercial operation of their shared LTE networks in the second half of 2014 following a test period. The shared networks will cover all of the Czech Republic outside of Prague and Brno. T-Mobile CR will be responsible for management and operations in the western part of the Czech Republic while Telefónica CR will look after the eastern part. Speeds will initially reach up to 75 Mbps downstream and up to 25 Mbps upstream.

Telefónica Czech Republic is no longer part of the Telefónica group after it was sold to local investor PPF. The O2 brand and Telefónica Czech Republic name are still being used for the time being.

In contrast, Deutsche Telekom recently acquired the shares it did not already own in its Czech unit as part of the German operator's strategy to expand its portfolio in Eastern Europe.

The two Czech operators compete with Vodafone Czech Republic and also provide wholesale network access to a raft of MVNOs that started operations over the past 18 months. Vodafone CR has also relaunched the Oskarta secondary brand, while T-Mobile CR utilises Kaktus.

For more:
- see this T-Mobile Czech Republic release

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