UK media reports are claiming Vodafone and Orange are mulling a network sharing partnership. The two companies already share the Radio Access Network (RAN) elements of their two networks so any agreement would build on existing arrangements. It is understood the two operators would agree to share the costs of engineering, maintenance and technology upgrades, bringing each of them savings estimated at around US$1.45 billion a year.
A partnership agreement is made simpler by the fact Vodafone and Orange have signed agreements with UK landline operator BT to act as its backhaul partner for the next five years. There are strong precedents for such arrangements. T-Mobile UK and 3 UK have had a RAN sharing partnership for over a year and Vodafone shares its passive network infrastructure in Italy with TIM.
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