O2, Vodafone expected to expand network sharing deal: 3UK CTO

Holding up its network sharing agreement with T-Mobile UK as a case study for other operators, the CTO of 3UK, Graham Baxter, has claimed that European service providers would need to cut their network costs and meet increasing demand for high-speed data services, otherwise, "shareholders are going to be asking why you're more expensive," said the exec.

While the T-Mobile/3UK deal has been in operation since 2007--and has been projected to save billions over the long term--Baxter believes that O2 and Vodafone will move to extend their network sharing partnership beyond the current deal that was signed last year to cover some network components such as transmission masts in Germany, Spain, Ireland and the UK. However, Baxter stressed speculation that this plan might be diverted by Vodafone acquiring 3UK as off the mark. "It's not on the agenda."

Pressed on the likelihood of increasing the level of network sharing, Telefonica said it was considering merging some existing network sites and jointly building new sites. A company spokesman said that the two O2 and Vodafone would build 650 sites this year and use the deal to roll out their respective networks.

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