Network sharing: O2 and Vodafone see immediate benefits

The agreement signed by O2 and Vodafone to share infrastructure would appear to working with the two operators announcing that the first shared network site has gone live. The companies claim the benefits from the tie-up have been immediately noted given that this first co-operation--from planning to implementation--was completed in 11 weeks, compared to nine months for a typical standalone site.

According to Vodafone, its equipment was added to an existing O2 site on a busy motorway close to London that will allow it to close a neighbouring site in the near future. A joint statement from O2 and Vodafone said "this is the first of many shared sites that will be delivered over the coming months. Plans for other sites are now well advanced and progressing well."

The infrastructure deal, which both firms hope will save them hundreds of millions of pounds over the next 10 years, aims to improve broadband coverage, and lead to the consolidation of many existing 2G and 3G sites.

The agreement also calls for the two companies to open all Irish network sites for sharing by the other party, and the sharing of power, cabinets and masts in Spain that builds upon an early deal signed in 2007. To date, 2,200 sites are shared under this Spanish agreement and during 2009 and 2010 additional sites will be added. In Germany, the networks will share existing 2G and 3G sites.

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