Vodafone and Telefonica have recently announced a network sharing agreement that has gone through the press with lots said about it, but few have actually taken a closer look what kind of network sharing they have in mind. Fortunately, the Vodafone press announcement contains quite a number of details about what exactly is shared.
Unlike other infrastructure sharing deals announced by others in the past where everything is shared from mast to base station (and which I am quite critical of), this deal foresees to mainly share masts, power supplies and shelters. In many places this has already been done for years and this agreement looks like it will mainly tie the two companies closer together to lower costs while at the same time it ensures their independence on how much capacity they want to have at each site.
An interesting side note in the announcement is that the companies will also look into the possibility of sharing backhaul. While not yet part of the deal, I think this is a good idea, as it doesn't make a lot of sense to dig up the street several times to lay in fiber. I wonder if that's o.k. by the regulators.
And finally, I wonder what happend to a very similar deal between Vodafone and Orange which was announced just a year ago!?