Vodafone Ireland and Three Ireland on Friday have announced 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.
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.”
Welcoming the partnership, Robert Finnegan, CEO of Three Ireland, commented: “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.”
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.