Irish network sharing deal unveiled
Vodafone Ireland and Three Ireland have announced a strategic partnership agreement creating a 50/50 joint venture company to share their physical network and site infrastructure at approximately 2000 locations across the country. Both companies will continue to run the ‘intelligent’ elements of the network separately, including their core network capabilities and service platforms, as well as manage their own radio equipment and spectrum independently. The strategic partnership is the first of its kind in Ireland whereby the joint venture company will manage the rapid roll-out of a consolidated portfolio of shared network sites and infrastructure. The joint venture will also be responsible for maintenance, on-going operational service and associated equipment. Benefits to Vodafone Ireland and Three Ireland include the ability to purchase network infrastructure equipment together to reduce costs, increasing the number of sites connected to a fibre backhaul network and the opportunity to expand mobile network coverage for customers. Consolidation of network sites and the transmission infrastructure of competing telecommunications companies is underway industry-wide, across many markets. Under this agreement, duplicate sites will be decommissioned, and each company will have access to the other’s sites. Both companies will continue to remain independently responsible for what technology and spectrum is deployed on a site-by-site basis and what standard of service customers’ experience. Each operator retains the flexibility to invest in dedicated sites and equally to choose the pace and degree of new technology deployment according to the level of service each company plans to deliver. The new company is expected to be fully operational from the Autumn and will be headquartered in Dublin. The Managing Director will be appointed from an independent pool of talent and the new company will have its own Management Board. Approximately 80 employees will transfer from Vodafone Ireland and Three Ireland to the new joint venture company after a consultation period. These will include employees that currently work in the Radio and Transmission teams, the Network Operations Centre, and some support roles.