Three and Eircom reach 4G network-sharing deal – 2k cell sites to be built

29 Aug 2014

Three and Eircom have signed a new 4G network-sharing agreement, one of the conditions imposed by the European Commission when it green-lighted Three’s €850m acquisition of the O2 network from Telefónica.

Prior to the acquisition, O2 and Eircom had a 4G network-sharing deal in place under a joint venture entitled Mosaic.

However, Three’s acquisition of O2 made Mosaic’s future seem uncertain.

The new deal runs up to 2030 and commits both companies to funding the creation of a shared network of more than 2,000 sites within the next three years.

The companies will share site equipment, power supply, towers and transmission across Ireland.

Existing sites of both operators will be consolidated and new sites will be jointly constructed.

It is envisioned that the joint network will provide 4G (LTE) data coverage in every part of the country.

Customer choice

“The agreement builds on the strong network-sharing arrangements already in place that have delivered new and innovative services to the Irish market,” said Richard Moat, CFO of Eircom.

“The duration of the agreement provides certainty for both parties and the benefits of network sharing will become more evident in the coming three years.”

Both companies stressed that while Three and Eircom will work closely together, there is no transfer of assets and spectrum will not be shared under the new arrangement.

Both companies will continue to compete with each other, ensuring that customer choice in the market is maintained.

“We are delighted to have reached this agreement, which will bring an even higher quality service and cost savings, both of which will be good for our customers,” said David Hennessy, CTO of Three.

4G image via Shutterstock

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