Greek operators strike network sharing deal

With the difficult economic climate taking its toll on businesses in Greece, the nation’s number two and number three mobile operators have signed an active 2G and 3G network sharing agreement covering rural areas and some urban sites across the country.

Vodafone Greece and Wind Hellas have signed an agreement that is set to run for 15 years. However, Vodafone said that it will continue to operate its 4G network exclusively across Greece.

The two operators will form a new technology company to manage the radio access network. Vodafone said that its customers will benefit from improved coverage and enhanced data performance from the network sharing. It added that both companies will realise cost savings as a result of the agreement.

Network sharing is becoming a common theme in Europe and has divided opinion somewhat. Vodafone and 3 in Ireland, Vodafone and KPN in the Netherlands and Telia and Telenor in Denmark have each formed network sharing agreements.

In June last year, UK mobile operators O2 and Vodafone agreed to extend their existing network sharing deal to create one single national grid across the country providing 2G, 3G and eventually 4G services to 98 per cent of the UK population.

Telenor Norway’s CEO shared her views about network sharing with earlier this year. Berit Svendsen said that more than 60 per cent of consumers in Norway say that Telenor has the best on network coverage and capacity.

“This is the most important differentiator that we have,” she said. “If we start to share networks with other players we lose that, so this is not in our plans right now. Network sharing is something I think is more common if you’re the number two or number three operator rather than number one.”

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