Irish incumbent Eircom has agreed the country’s first major network sharing partnership with Telefonica’s local O2 subsidiary.
The firms claim the ten-year collaboration will deliver an unrivalled experience to mobile customers, and aid rollout of next generation networks considered essential to meet growing demand for multimedia services and fuel a recovery in the Irish economy.
Ireland was one of several countries bailed out by the European Union following a budget deficit in 2010, leaving operators struggling to finance fresh network deployments.
Eircom and O2 will share site equipment, power supplies, technology and transmissions, and plan to consolidate existing sites. The duo will also investigate construction of new infrastructure sites, with work led by a joint team of staff.
“The current economic realities require all operators to think creatively on how to operate more efficiently,” Eircom chief Paul Donovan states, adding. “It is imperative that our industry continues to invest in both fixed and mobile platforms to underpin Ireland’s national recovery.”
O2 Ireland chief executive Stephen Shurrock said the collaboration will allow the carriers to “deliver new and enhanced services, including faster broadband speeds,” in a more efficient manner.
“There is a strong strategic requirement for greater collaboration and focus in the area of investment,” he added.
The firms currently operate 3,500 sites in Ireland, and analysts estimate the collaboration could cut costs by 30% the Irish Times reports. However the deal doesn’t cover spectrum or asset transfers.
Network sharing agreements are an increasingly attractive option for carriers seeking to cut costs. Deutsche Telekom recently agreed a similar collaboration with France Telecom covering Wi-Fi and M2M, and other deals are in the offing in the Czech Republic, Spain and the UK.