Orange and Vodafone today outlined the next steps in their vision to deliver better quality mobile coverage to more people, in more places across the UK.
The two companies announced their intention to work together last year and are aiming to deliver customer, environmental and business benefits by establishing joint network efficiencies. The first stage of implementation will see Orange UK and Vodafone UK share existing 2G and 3G mast sites, with one site housing the equipment of both companies where previously two would have been used. Implementation will begin this year and will mean that half of the UK population – the combined customer base of both companies – will be able to make calls and use the mobile internet in more places than ever before.
As well as improving the quality of coverage across the country, the two companies will also have a smaller environmental footprint due to the fewer number of mast-sites needed. It is expected that the initiative will lead to a 15% reduction in the number of mast sites – almost 3,000 sites in total – in the first two years alone.
Orange UK and Vodafone UK will continue to maintain separate networks, will retain full responsibility for the quality of service they offer their respective customers and will remain competitors in the UK mobile wholesale and retail markets.
Vodafone and Orange will also benefit from the associated operational and financial cost efficiencies of having fewer mast sites, enabling them to deliver even more investment in innovative products and services for customers.
Tom Alexander, CEO of Orange UK, said: “This deal will see our two companies work together to ensure our customers benefit from better, deeper and faster mobile coverage in more places, with fewer mast-sites across the country. It will be better for our customers, better for our businesses and better for the environment.”
Nick Read, CEO of Vodafone UK, said: “Last year we announced this industry leading initiative and today’s announcement focuses on a significant mast sharing program that benefits our customers and the environment, while driving improved efficiencies for our business.”