Ireland’s former monopoly fixed line operator and mobile services provider Eircom has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Telefonica of Spain’s Irish mobile arm, O2 Ireland, to establish the Republic’s first ‘comprehensive’ mobile network sharing deal. It is understood the tie-up involves closer cooperation in a number of key areas such as site equipment, power supply, technology and transmission sharing. O2 and Eircom plan to set up a new team, drawn from both firms’ organisations, to handle the day-to-day build-out and operation of the networks. The agreement does not involve the transfer or sale of assets, the pair added, nor indeed the sharing of mobile frequencies. In a statement, the two rivals said: ’All mobile operations supported by O2 [O2 Ireland and MVNO Tesco Mobile] and Eircom [Meteor Mobile and eMobile] will continue to compete with each other, ensuring that customer choice in the market is maintained.’
The announcement from O2 Ireland and Eircom is designed to speed up the introduction of new technologies in the country to meet demand for higher bandwidth services and to provide customers with more readily available and faster broadband speeds. It is the latest in a line of network sharing deals around the world which has already seen initiatives implemented in the UK, Spain, France and the Czech Republic.