Australian mobile operators Optus and Vodafone have announced that they are to share their 3G networks to save infrastructure costs. Optus says it is hoping to knock as much as AUD140 million off the AUD435 million it was expecting to spend on a network of 2,000 base stations. Vodafone has not revealed how much it is hoping to save by joining forces with its rival. The pair say their joint network will be launched in Sydney and Melbourne by mid-2005, with Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide getting services later.
The Optus-Vodafone deal follows a similar agreement between the country’s leading cellular operator Telstra and the 3G licensee Hutchison. Telstra has paid AUD450 million for a 50% stake in Hutchison’s next-generation network which already covers Australia’s five largest cities. Hutchison launched 3G services last year and claimed 240,000 subscribers by mid-2004.