Vodafone UK is unwinding parts of its network-sharing arrangement with Telefónica as it prepares to launch its first 5G services in urban areas next year, it emerged at a press briefing in London this week.
The two mobile operators have been sharing so-called "active" equipment, which includes electronics used in mobile networks, under the Project Beacon initiative, with Vodafone UK primarily responsible for networks in the west of the UK and Telefónica UK Ltd. managing those in the east.
Project Beacon has also included London, where Telefónica has had responsibility for the north of the capital and Vodafone has looked after the south. But the soaring volumes of data traffic on the London network have prompted the operators to back out of that arrangement, said Kye Prigg, Vodafone UK's head of mobile and fixed networks. (See Vodafone UK Turns Mobile Network Guns on BT/EE.)
"We've decided to unwind the relationship with Telefónica in London," he told reporters. "That means in the north of London, where Telefónica was providing 4G coverage, and in the south, where we were doing the same, each company will put in its own basestation assets."
— Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading
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