Airtel and Voda-Idea OFC sharing: Moving TIM & Telefonica way for 5G

The companies are planning to learn from international model of TIM & Telefonica UK and Vodafone with respect to network and OFC sharing for 5G infrastructure

Sunil Bharti Mittal has invited Vodafone – Idea to be a partner in his fiber company Telesonic as per recent announcement made during Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona.

Despite overlaps in OFC, both the companies will benefit in terms of 25 per cent capacity, new routes and lot of savings added Mittal.

Both the companies are looking at Vodafone and Telefonica UK (O2) and TIM and Vodafone Italia model for fiber sharing as they have already perfected the model of tower sharing in future through Indus Towers.

Globally, Vodafone has partnered with Telefonica UK (O2) for network sharing partnership and include 5G at joint radio network sites. This would enable both Vodafone and O2 to deploy 5G faster, to offer 5G services to more customers over a wider geographic area and to do so at a lower cost. In addition, both parties will deploy their own separate radio equipment on approximately 2,500 sites, which represents around 15% of sites outside London.

The companies also intend to upgrade their transmission networks with higher capacity optical fibre cables. This would enable customers to benefit from 5G’s new features, such as low latency, providing both companies with greater economies of scale and an improved choice of infrastructure partners. Vodafone and O2 are also exploring options around their future transmission operating model which could drive synergies in the investment and operation of their end-to-end networks.

Vodafone and O2 further intend to devolve additional activities to CTIL, the 50:50 owned joint venture company that owns and manages the parties’ passive tower infrastructure. This will empower CTIL to take an enhanced role in the operation of the passive infrastructure, in order to improve the efficiency of its operations and pursue opportunities to add further third party tenants to the towers. In that context, the parties will explore a potential monetisation of CTIL after the new arrangements have been finalised.

Vodafone Italia has also and signed an MoU with Telecom Italia Group (TIM) for active network sharing partnership for 5G. The agreement includes active sharing for 4G and to expand existing passive sharing agreement to enable faster deployment of 5G over a wider geographic area at a lower cost. The parties intend to cooperate on the upgrade of their respective fibre transmission networks for mobile backhaul and evaluate the combination of their 22,000 passive towers in Italy into a single entity.

Vodafone and TIM intend plans to enter into an agreement that would enable them to jointly rollout 5G infrastructure. The active sharing Project would support a faster deployment of 5G over a wider geographic area at a lower cost. The parties intend to extend the existing Passive Sharing Agreement, from approximately 10,000 sites today (approximately 45% of the parties’ combined passive towers), to a nationwide agreement. The objective is to accelerate and enhance the deployment of 5G technology and use network infrastructure more efficiently both in urban and rural areas.

Both Bharti Airtel and Vodafone-Idea should have opted for OFC sharing when they were planning to deploy 4G infrastructure in India say 2-3 years back which would have helped them lower their 4G capex requirements. But its not too late as one has to deploy lots of fiber both in terms of tower fiberization as well as fiber transmission networks based on Indian consumer video usage pattern.


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