Vodafone and O2′s Network Collaboration Gets Ofcom Go Ahead

Back in June, Vodafone and O2′s parent company Telefonica announced a plan to join forces to share the burden of building a more extensive 2G, 3G and eventually 4G network in the UK.

The plan was subject to approval, and this week Ofcom has given the two companies the go ahead. While O2 and Vodafone’s joint venture sounds similar to Everything Everywhere’s setup, it’s nowhere near as deep. The two rivals are committed to remaining separate, and the deal only refers to network infrastructure. A new company has been created to look after the joint network, and it has been named Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure, or CTI.

It’s EE’s leap forward regarding 4G coverage in the UK that has undoubtedly prompted the partnership, as with Vodafone and O2 working together, they can improve their existing networks, as well as push 4G LTE out faster than they would on their own.

That’ll have to wait until Ofcom’s spectrum auction though, as neither O2 or Vodafone have enough of the 1800MHz spectrum spare to create a rival to EE’s 4G network. It has been suggested that the 900MHz spectrum could be refarmed for 4G use, however, no plans have been announced to do so.

According to the BBC, a meeting will take place this week between Ofcom, the networks and government officials, with a view to bringing the 4G spectrum auction forward. It’s hoped that by doing so, legal action against EE can be avoided, as such a move would potentially push the auction date even further into the future.

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