TELECOMS giant Vodafone yesterday confirmed it had agreed to share network infrastructure in Ireland with rival operator 3 in the first such deal in the country.
Under the arrangement the two companies will create a joint venture to share equipment at about 2,000 locations across Ireland.
The deal follows a spate of similar agreements across Europe where operators are looking for ways to upgrade their networks at a time when customers are cutting back on spending.
Sharing infrastructure will enable the companies to expand coverage for customers, buy equipment together to reduce costs, and increase the number of sites connected to a high-speed fibre network.
Vodafone Ireland chief executive Jeroen Hoencamp, said: “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.”
Robert Finnegan, 3 Ireland’s chief executive, said the agreement would allow the network to roll out new technology and better services at a faster pace than they would be able to do independently.
Both companies stressed they would continue to compete aggressively with each other to maintain and win market share.
The joint venture will be based in Dublin, and is expected to be up and running by the autumn. Some 80 staff from Vodafone and 3 will be transferred to the company, including employees working in the radio and transmission teams, the Network Operations Centre, and some support roles.
Shares in Vodafone closed up 0.5p at 183.85p yesterday.
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