Vodafone Italia and Telecom Italia Group (TIM) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to explore an active network-sharing partnership for 5G.
They will evaluate the technical and commercial feasibility of jointly rolling out 5G infrastructure. The aim is to support faster deployment of 5G over a wider geographic area at a lower cost, while retaining strategic flexibility.
Vodafone and TIM will look into combining their 22,000 passive towers in Italy into a single entity to support 5G active network sharing. They are also considering active sharing for 4G.
Economies of scale
Further, Vodafone and TIM intend to upgrade their respective mobile transmission networks, adding higher capacity optical fibre cables. The aim is to enable 5G features such as faster speeds and low latency, as well as provide both companies with greater economies of scale.
The latest deal expands the operators’ existing passive sharing agreement from approximately 10,000 sites (approximately 45% of their combined passive towers) to a nationwide agreement.
The partners aim to conclude one or more of the initiatives by the end of the year.
Networking sharing is key
Aldo Bisio, CEO of Vodafone Italia, said, “This partnership will allow us to generate significant benefits for our customers and other stakeholders, who will be able to enjoy the best 5G experience, made available in a shorter period of time and across a wider geographical area.
“5G represents a technological breakthrough that will have a profound impact on society, and that requires investment, efficiency and a rapid rollout. This has led us to broaden the scope of our existing successful partnership.”
Luigi Gubitosi, CEO, TIM, added: “We believe that network sharing is key to do more, effectively and better for the benefit of our clients and all stakeholders, in view of the process of change that will be triggered by the launch of 5G in the years to come and that will be paramount for the development and digitalisation of our country.”
Last month, Telefónica UK (02) and Vodafone extended their RAN network-sharing and agreed to explore the possibilities of a joint fibre network to leverage scale and investment.