Arqvia agrees 10 year mobile network infrastructure deal with Vodafone-02 partnership

Out-Law News | 08 Aug 2014 | 3:38 pm | 1 min. read

Vodafone and O2 have extended an existing mobile network infrastructure sharing agreement they have so as to use telecom masts owned by Arqiva to deliver services under a new ten year agreement with the communications infrastructure company.

Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL), the company owned in partnership by Vodafone and Telefónica UK, which trades as O2, has been operating since 2012 with the aim of consolidating the telecommunications infrastructure owned by Vodafone and 02 into a "single grid network". It said the deal with Arqiva would allow the mobile network operators to improve their services to customers.

"The vast network of Arqiva’s sites across the UK is a core component of facilitating this consolidation for the mobile network operators," CTIL's managing director Malcolm Collins said. "This particularly offers us the opportunity to get the right site, at the right location, which will assist in driving better coverage, capacity and network speeds across cities, towns and rural locations for Vodafone and Telefónica UK customers.”

Nicolas Ott, managing director of telecoms at Arqiva, said the agreement would help with the wider rollout of new '4G' services.

"Working in partnership with CTIL we are supporting the provision of the core footprint for the future of 4G in the UK," Ott said. "As 4G continues its rapid uptake allowing consumers’ to enjoy a richer array of content on mobile devices, it is imperative that the infrastructure is in place to support this growth.”

The term '4G' is generally used to refer to mobile broadband services delivered using the next generation of mobile broadband technologies; including Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMAX. LTE technical standards make more efficient use of radio spectrum, which makes them ideally suited for the high bandwidth data services including video streaming, social networking and GPS and mapping services used by smartphones and laptops.

New EU laws were finalised earlier this year which will mean that, from 2016, owners of public communications networks will be under a general obligation to accept reasonable requests from rival network operators for access to their physical infrastructure "under fair and reasonable terms and conditions, including price", where those rivals wish to deploy their own "high-speed electronic communications networks".

The new rules lay out a number of exceptions that network operators will be able to cite to prevent such access, including on safety grounds or for reasons of network security or integrity.

Last summer the UK government issued a new code of practice to govern the deployment of new fixed line broadband cabinets and poles.