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Vodafone and Virgin Media O2 Extend Network Sharing Agreement for Over a Decade

Vodafone UK and Virgin Media O2 extend their network-sharing deal to enhance coverage, quality, and competition, benefiting MVNOs and 50 million UK customers.

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VoicenData Bureau
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JIO OPTIVA PARTNERSHIP

Vodafone UK and Virgin Media O2 have announced a long-term extension of their existing mobile network sharing arrangement. The new agreement spans more than a decade and aims to enhance service quality, improve coverage, and foster competition in the UK’s mobile market.

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Virgin Media O2 will acquire spectrum from the newly formed MergeCo entity. MergeCo has committed to investing £11 billion in its network over the next decade, subject to CMA approval. Virgin Media O2 also plans to maintain its £2 billion annual investment in networks and services.

The agreement is expected to benefit the broader mobile ecosystem, including Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) that rely on wholesale partnerships.

Ahmed Essam, CEO, of European Markets, Vodafone said: “With this agreement and our merger with Three, we will transform the mobile experience for over 50 million customers in the UK for the long-term,  providing significant network improvements including more choice, better quality and greater coverage across the country.  These benefits extend to both retail and wholesale MVNO customers. The proposed merger, together with this agreement, will boost competition by establishing a strong third player in the UK mobile market and will improve the balance of spectrum holdings, leveling the playing field between the UK’s mobile operators.”

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Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2 said: “This new agreement with Vodafone ensures that quality mobile network choice, performance, coverage, and competition is enhanced to the benefit of millions of consumers, businesses, and our mobile operator partners across the country. We are extending and bolstering elements of our existing network-sharing arrangement, while also ensuring there is a robust, balanced, and functional structure in place for the long term should Vodafone and Three’s proposed merger gain consent. We believe that this new agreement addresses the issues we have voiced and the CMA outlined in its initial decision, and will now continue our engagement with the regulator in this spirit.”

The extended partnership is expected to significantly enhance competition in the retail and wholesale mobile markets, benefiting businesses, MVNOs, and ultimately, consumers.

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