A site sharing collaboration between Vodafone and O2 aims to accelerate the roll out of 5G.
The companies will share the use of 5G active equipment such as radio antennas on joint network sites across the UK.
They have also agreed to greater 5G network autonomy on approximately 2,700 sites in 23 of the UK’s larger cities, representing just over 16% of combined mast sites.
This is in addition to London - previously announced in 2018 - bringing the total number of autonomous sites to 25%.
At these sites, each party will install their own radio equipment, fibre backhaul connection and power supply, while sharing the physical elements such as the mast.
The agreement will see Cornerstone, the 50:50 joint venture company that owns and manages the parties’ passive tower infrastructure, take an additional role in the deployment of both networks and look to capture further operational efficiencies.
In addition, Vodafone and O2 will now proceed to explore potential monetisation options for Cornerstone.
Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said: “We’re driving our 5G roll out forward with this agreement, and taking our customers, our business and the whole of the UK with us.
"Greater autonomy in major cities will allow us to accelerate deployment, and together with active network sharing ensures that our customers will get superfast 5G in even more places more quickly, using fewer masts.”
Telefónica UK CEO Mark Evans added: "This agreement will enable us to roll out 5G faster and more efficiently, benefiting customers while delivering value for our business. It also importantly allows us to utilise the spectrum we acquired in the last auction effectively.”