Vodafone Ireland and Three Ireland have agreed to set up a 50/50 joint venture company to share their physical network and site infrastructure across the country. The deal, which has been rumoured for a few weeks, will see the two companies sharing around 2000 sites. As a result, Vodafone and Three will be able to reduce purchasing costs and potentially increase network coverage.
However, both companies will continue to manage their own radio equipment, spectrum and core network capabilities. Each will choose the technology and spectrum deployed in individual sites and will also be able to invest in dedicated cell sites.
Approximately 80 employees will move from Vodafone Ireland and Three Ireland to join the new Dublin-based joint venture, which is expected to be fully operational from the autumn. It’ll manage the roll-out of shared sites and will also be responsible for maintenance and associated equipment.
Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, said “Securing future investment for technologies in a competitive market is critical to maintaining a sustainable business. We believe this partnership will place both companies in a stronger position to commit to future investment in our network, and the products and services we provide to customers. 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. At a retail level, we will continue to compete with each other and with other operators as aggressively as before as part of our commitment to deliver great value and innovative services to consumers and businesses across the country.”
Robert Finnegan, CEO of Three Ireland, said “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. As a result of this agreement we expect to be able to deliver the latest technologies to our customers faster than ever before. This new joint venture combines the best of both networks and will be the smart choice for the savvy mobile customer.”