A mast sharing project between British mobile network operators (MNOs) Vodafone UK and O2 UK is expected to be complete by the end of this year, a full two years behind schedule, Mobile News reports.
Under Project Beacon, which Vodafone and O2 agreed to undertake in 2012, the duo are aiming to combine more than 18,000 masts into a single grid, with a joint venture company – Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited (CTIL) – having been set up to oversee the network consolidation. While work had originally been expected to be complete by the end of 2015, the report claims that the MNOs’ combined infrastructure currently covers 97% of the population, just behind the 98% final target.
With regards to the project’s progress, Vodafone UK’s head of networks Kye Prigg was cited as saying: ‘We are now 79% complete. More than 400 base stations are upgraded monthly, which means we have a brand new network compared to the likes of EE and Three who have quite an old one … We expect Beacon to be completed by the end of this financial year in December. There will be a few sites left over, which include remote areas because it’s hard to bring fibre to them. We are working on those, but we expect Beacon to be more than 99.9% finished by the end of the year.’