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Vodafone and Optus to share Australian net
03 May 2012
Vodafone Hutchison and SingTel’s Optus to extend Australian network sharing deal and build 500 additional sites
Vodafone Hutchison Australia will extend its network sharing agreement with Optus, subject to regulatory approval, as part of efforts to hold on to customers, according to local reports. The deal includes a domestic roaming pact.
VHA — which is a joint venture between Vodafone and the Hutchison Whampoa Group that now uses the Vodafone brand — will gain access to 400 Optus base station sites, and the two will together build 500 additional sites over the coming four years, reports The Australian.
The network sharing deal will start from April 2013, if approved, and VHA hopes the network joint venture will help it achieve its aim to boost coverage by 1800 sites. The operators have refused to reveal the financial terms of the deal.
Although Vodafone and Optus already shared equipment shelters and towers for their 2100 megahertz network in key metropolitan regions, they operated separately in rural and semi-rural regions. The extended deal will expand the network sharing arrangements to semi-regional regions, and allow both operators to advance plans to offer 4G services by up to 18 months, said the report.
Kevin Russell, consumer head for Optus, told The Australian: “As we expand our network it is important that we do so with a sustainable cost structure. This agreement enables us to share both capital and operating costs more efficiently with VHA. We will also benefit from a new commitment by VHA to move all of their domestic roaming traffic over from Telstra to Optus delivering us a substantial financial benefit over the next five years.”
Australian operator Optus, which is wholly owned by Singapore Telecommunications, expects the deal to enhance its mobile presence 20% by 2015, and let it expand its 3G coverage and expected 4G coverage across a number of large cities.
Bill Morrow, CEO of VHA, told The Australian: “We’ve listened to our customers and we’re responding to their demands by delivering a better, faster, more reliable network across Australia. The expansion to our coverage is a significant step forward and is part of our evolution toward higher performance network speeds that will ultimately lead to our introduction of 4G.” GTB
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