Vodafone, 3 to share network
Vodafone Ireland and Three have signed a deal that will see the two networks share infrastructure, potentially saving them millions of euro.
The mobile networks will create a joint venture company in which each will have an equal share. Under the deal, the joint venture will be responsible for the maintenance of the site infrastructure at more than 2,000 locations across Ireland, and will also take over the building of all new sites.
Three Ireland's chief executive Robert Finnegan said the new agreement would allow the network to roll out new technology at a faster pace. However, he said Three would continue to fight "tooth and nail" on the high street for customers.
The operators will continue to run the "intelligent"’ elements of the network separately, such as core network capabilities and service platforms. They will also manage their own radio equipment and spectrum.
It will allow duplicate sites to be eliminated, and give each company access to the other’s sites.
“Securing future investment for technologies in a competitive market is critical to maintaining a sustainable business. We believe this partnership will place Vodafone in a stronger position to commit to future investment in our network, and the products and services we provide to customers," said Vodafone Ireland chief executive Jeroen Hoencamp.
“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."
Mr Finnegan said the announcement was significant for Irish consumers.
The new company will be based in Dublin, and is expected to be up and running by autumn. Eighty staff from Vodafone and Three will be transferred to the new company, including employees working in the radio and transmission teams, the Network Operations Centre, and some support roles.