Vodafone may replicate elements of UK tower sharing venture elsewhere
BARCELONA, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Vodafone may replicate
elements of its British mobile towers joint venture in other
markets but not necessarily to the extent of sharing radio
equipment in major cities, its chief executive said on
Nick Read said on Tuesday that Vodafone could increase the
utilisation of its assets such as 58,000 mobile phone masts it
has in Europe, by encouraging rival operators to use them or
selling a stake to a mobile tower operator.
Such a plan could mirror a venture Vodafone has in Britain
with Telefonica, named CTIL, which manages the mobile
network infrastructure for both companies. But Read said not all
aspects of the deal in Britain had worked out.
"We've learnt passive sharing is fine, it's a good thing to
do," Read told investors at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media
and Telecom conference in Barcelona on Wednesday. "Active
sharing gets more complex."
Active sharing involves two operators using the same radio
equipment, whereas in passive sharing each operator puts its own
technology on each mast.
Read said different requirements for the Vodafone network in
Britain and Telefonica's O2 network had created problems in busy
"In big cities it probably doesn't work, it's a bit too
painful and you get inconsistencies in customers' experience. So
what we did in the UK was we unwound London," he said. "We may
unwind a little bit more in the UK in some of the big cities."
Telefonica had not immediate comment.
Read said Vodafone's European towers would be put into a
single internal unit to drive efficiencies. Vodafone would then
consider whether to sell a minority stake to a tower company.
"It's important to maintain strategic control," he said.
"The likelihood is more a minority (investment) if we go that
(Reporting by Paul Sandle
Editing by Edmund Blair)
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