UK mobile networks O2 and Vodafone have extended an existing network-sharing agreement to cover the new 5G roll out.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the pair say they will share the fibre infrastructure running between each network’s own core network and a number of jointly owned masts. That will enable the companies to speed up their roll out of 5G services and save a few quid while doing so.
Both networks are facing an uphill struggle to fight British Telecom, which owns EE, the largest 4G network in the UK. Three Mobile also poses a larger threat to O2 and Vodafone in the 5G era due to an expanded investment in 5G spectrum.
The 50:50 CITL venture (formally known as Cornerstone), which was founded in 2012 also gives each network more power to act individually when they wish to upgrade their network in densely populated areas.
Related: What is 5G
The two companies are also saying they may seek new third-party tenants to the jointly-owned towers in order to monitize the project. They say it would create long-term value for the pair without compromising competitiveness.
“We believe that these plans will generate significant benefits for our business and our customers as we move into the digital era of connected devices, appliances and systems on a mass scale,” Vodafone UK Chief Executive Nick Jeffery said (via Reuters).
It’s still not clear when Brits will gain access to proper 5G speeds as a matter of routine. Hopes for a widespread roll out of the next-gen speeds in 2019 seem to be a little optimistic. It’ll likely be sometime in 2020 before you’ll be able to walk into a mobile phone store and get yourself a 5G contract.
Who are you backing to become the UK’s best 5G network when services eventually begin rolling out? Do you think it’s going to change the way to work and play? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter