Eircom and O2 in first Irish mobile sharing deal

6 Apr 2011

Eircom and Telefonica O2 Ireland have signed a deal to embark on what they describe as the first comprehensive mobile network sharing agreement in the country.

With growing demand for higher bandwidth services across Ireland, both companies say the partnership will facilitate the introduction of new technologies to provide customers with wider and faster broadband speeds.

The agreement brings greater co-operation in a number of areas of mobile network sharing, such as site equipment, power supply, technology and transmission sharing.

New O2 and Eircom sites will be jointly built

Wherever possible, existing sites of both operators will be consolidated and new sites will be jointly built. A dedicated team, made up of existing network staff from both organisations, will be established to manage the day-to-day build and operation of the distinct networks.

While O2 and Eircom will work closely together, there is no transfer of assets and spectrum will not be shared under the new arrangement.

All mobile operations supported by O2 (O2 and Tesco Mobile) and Eircom Group (Meteor and eMobile) will continue to compete with each other.

“It is imperative that our industry continues to invest in both fixed and mobile platforms to underpin Ireland’s national recovery,” Eircom CEO Paul Donovan said.

“The current economic realities require all operators to think creatively on how to operate more efficiently. This new collaboration between two of the largest operators in the Irish market demonstrates how working together we can deliver tangible benefits for customers,” Donovan said.

Network sharing initiatives are becoming the norm rather than the exception globally, with initiatives already implemented in a number of countries, including the UK, Spain, France and the Czech Republic.

These agreements facilitate investment in new technology and meet growing demand for higher bandwidth services. 

“We continue to see strong demand from consumers and businesses alike for higher bandwidth services, as mobile data usage grows,” Stephen Shurrock, CEO of Telefonica O2 Ireland, explained.

“Today’s announcement will enable us to not only deliver new and enhanced services, including faster broadband speeds, but also to do it in a much more efficient way, providing the best mobile infrastructure for the customer and the economy alike.

“There is a strong strategic requirement for greater collaboration and focus in the area of investment in helping to accelerate the introduction of new technologies and O2 is delighted to be at the forefront of this development,” Shurrock added.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years