O2 and Vodafone’s mast sharing agreement is under negotiation before renewal, with Vodafone looking for more localized autonomy, according to anonymous network sources reported on by the Telegraph.
Cornerstone goes all the way back to 2012 and saw the two networks agree to share newly constructed masts, with O2 taking the east of the UK and Vodafone taking the West. This aimed to not just reduce the cost of network expansion, but as revealed by Mobile’s investigation on mast rental agreements, to create a combined renegotiation strategy for reducing rent at existing sites as well.
According what the Telegraph describes as ‘senior industry sources’ Cornerstone is a source of tension between the two networks. Vodafone is said to want more autonomy to expand its own network exclusively in certain key areas such as Birmingham and Manchester. Telefonica UK is apparently after long-term certainty that the agreement is to continue in order to soothe investors as they prepare their Initial Public Offering.
While there may be grumbling between O2 and Vodafone over the details, in the face of EE’s Billion pound Emergency Services network deal, Cornerstone remains a mutually beneficial means of countering this rival infrastructure investment. This is supported by Cornerstone’s signing of a five year maintenance deal with IT engineering specialists Mitie in 2016, to expire in 2021.