Vodafone & Virgin Media O2 Announce Network-Sharing Partnership for Enhanced Connectivity

05/07/2024

Vodafone and Virgin Media O2 have entered a long-term network-sharing agreement aimed at transforming the mobile experience for tens of millions of customers across the UK. This partnership is set to enhance rural connectivity, provide improved services, and rebalance the mobile market by establishing a third scaled network operator.

The agreement builds on the existing collaboration between Vodafone UK and Virgin Media O2, including the Shared Rural Network initiative, to deliver quality mobile coverage in hard-to-reach areas across the UK.

“With this agreement and our merger with Three, we will transform the mobile experience for over 50 million customers in the UK for the long term, providing significant network improvements including more choice, better quality, and greater coverage across the country. These benefits extend to both retail and wholesale MVNO customers,” said Ahmed Essam, CEO of European Markets at Vodafone.

“The proposed merger, together with this agreement, will boost competition by establishing a strong third player in the UK mobile market and will improve the balance of spectrum holdings, leveling the playing field between the UK’s mobile operators.”

Combined investments include MergeCo’s prospective £11 billion and Virgin Media O2’s £2 billion annual investment in networks and services, ensuring long-term quality in mobile connectivity in rural areas.

Elizabeth Anderson, CEO of Digital Poverty Alliance, commented: “It is impossible for one organisation to solve UK connectivity on its own, so the partnership between Vodafone and Virgin Media O2 is a welcome step to improve network reach across the country.

“Connectivity in rural areas is a pressing issue for millions in the countryside and remote towns, cutting them off from essential online services such as education and healthcare. With these essential services increasingly shifting online, we can’t stand by and watch millions more people get left behind in the digital world.”

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