New Network Sharing Agreement to Transform UK Mobile Market Get All Offers

New Network Sharing Agreement to Transform UK Mobile Market

A Decade-Long Commitment

Vodafone UK Limited and Virgin Media O2 have extended their network sharing agreement for more than the next ten years. This move promises to improve O2 mobile coverage and services across the UK. This enhanced agreement builds on their existing relationship and prepares for a significant industry shift.

Merger and Spectrum Acquisition

The new agreement depends in part on the approval of the merger between Vodafone UK and Three UK. This merger, subject to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority’s approval, will create a new entity named MergeCo. MergeCo has agreed to allow Virgin Media O2 to acquire mobile network spectrum from their combined network, ensuring a better spectrum alignment across the operators.

Transforming Customer Experience

The formation of MergeCo and the new agreement will transform mobile experiences for millions of customers. This change aims to rebalance the mobile market by creating a strong third network operator. This development is crucial for enhancing competition and providing more options to consumers.

Extensive Investment Plans

MergeCo commits to investing £11 billion in its network over the next decade, pending regulatory approval. Additionally, Virgin Media O2 plans to invest £2 billion annually in its networks and services. Together, these investments will ensure enhanced connectivity, more choices and increased competition.

Benefits for Businesses and MVNOs

The agreement will also benefit businesses and mobile virtual network operators who use the O2 network(MVNOs). MVNOs will have access to high-quality wholesale networks, supporting a thriving segment in the UK. This move will ensure these operators can offer robust services to millions of customers nationwide.

Boosting Competition and Spectrum Balance

Ahmed Essam, CEO of European Markets at Vodafone, highlighted the transformative impact of the agreement and merger. He emphasized that over 50 million UK customers will enjoy significant network improvements. These enhancements include better quality, more choices, and greater coverage.

CEO Insights

Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, praised the new agreement for enhancing network choice, performance, and competition. He noted the extension of their existing network sharing arrangement. Moreover, this agreement provides a balanced and functional structure for the long term, pending the merger’s approval.

Addressing Regulatory Concerns

The new agreement addresses concerns previously raised by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). Virgin Media O2 and Vodafone continue to engage with the regulator to ensure compliance and address any issues. This proactive approach aims to facilitate a smooth approval process.

Spectrum Purchase Plans

As part of the agreement, Virgin Media O2 will purchase spectrum from MergeCo at market value. This acquisition will reduce spectrum imbalances among the UK’s mobile operators. A balanced spectrum allocation will enhance competition and improve service quality for customers.

Enhanced Capacity and Coverage

The agreement’s provisions will enable MergeCo and Virgin Media O2 to increase capacity, speeds, and coverage. Customers across the UK will benefit from these improvements, experiencing better mobile connectivity and service reliability.

Long-Term Benefits

In summary, this more than decade-long agreement between Vodafone UK and Virgin Media O2 sets the stage for significant enhancements for users in the UK mobile market. With substantial investments and a focus on competition and quality, the future looks promising for millions of customers and businesses alike.

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