Vodafone and Three are set to share network infrastructure in Ireland, with the two operators establishing a 50-50 joint venture firm to manage the scheme.
Network sharing is certainly becoming a popular concept at Vodafone, what with the announcement last month that the operator would share networks with O2 in the UK.
Three and Voda’s Irish venture will see infrastructure shared at some 2,000 locations across the country, but the firms will keep their core platforms and spectrum distinctly independent of each other – as with the UK venture.
And as with the UK scheme, the idea is to cut costs by purchasing and deploying network equipment together. Duplicate sites, where both Three and Voda already have stations, will be decommissioned.
The joint company will be responsible for the likes of maintenance of sites and equipment.
Of course, both operators will still be free to develop their own sites, should they wish.
Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, commented: “This agreement, in which infrastructure is shared between both parties, means we can concentrate investment on the intelligent part of the network that will ultimately deliver a better experience for Vodafone customers.”
Robert Finnegan, CEO of Three Ireland, added: “Around the world, operators are adopting a network sharing and consolidation strategy that delivers cost efficiencies and rapid network expansion with the roll-out of new technologies such as LTE, whilst still competing fiercely on customer service and acquisition.”
“Today’s announcement is significant for Irish consumers – jointly we’re creating the largest physical network in Ireland with the best network quality and service.”
The new company will be based in Dublin, and should be up and running by the autumn.