Vodafone and Orange extend network sharing in Spain to speed 5G rollout

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The operators say it will strengthen their partnership and enable faster, cheaper 5G rollout over a wider area.

The agreement establishes “a more economically efficient investment model for future network deployment”, according to a Vodafone statement, as well as being is more environmentally sensitive.

Under the agreement, Vodafone offer its customers broadband access and other fixed services on Orange’s FTTH network.

The companies have also agreed to explore potential co-investment opportunities to expand their fibre footprint in the future.

The original network sharing agreement with Orange was signed in 2006 and covered passive infrastructure nationwide and active infrastructure in smaller towns, and was renewed in 2012 and in 2016.

New terms

The terms of the new agreement allow active network sharing in both the radio access network and high-speed backhaul in cities with populations of up to 175,000 people. The previous arrangement only supported sharing in towns of between 1,000 and 25,000 people.

Two-thirds of the Spanish population will now be covered by Vodafone and Orange’s shared network agreement, with 14,800 sites expected to be shared compared to the 5,600 shared today.

Vodafone expects the new agreement to deliver cumulative savings of at least €600 million over the next ten years in operational and capital expenditure.

Vodafone and Orange will continue to operate independent infrastructure in Spain’s biggest cities.

Separate but together

They will retain separate management of their spectrum rights and their network performance, the control and functionality of their respective core networks, as well as the development of new products and services.

This, they say, enables each company to maintain flexibility to meet the needs of their respective customers.