Portuguese operators Vodafone and NOS have signed a national infrastructure development and sharing agreement.
The agreement covers the reciprocal sharing of dark fibre serving about 2.6 million houses, where each entity shares an equivalent amount of investment with the other. The partnership also extends to the mobile infrastructure, where it envisages at a minimum the sharing of 200 mobile towers. The duo will make their commercial offers available, under the shared network, as of the beginning of 2018.
“This agreement allows Vodafone Portugal to take its service to more customers, increasing competition in the market for the benefit of Portuguese families and companies,” commented Vodafone Portugal CEO Mário Vaz. “Starting today, we are taking a significant step forward so that all Portuguese can access the best offer on the market, contributing decisively to the materialisation of the Gigabit Company in Portugal.”
The agreement assumes that the two companies will maintain full autonomy in the design of commercial offers, and in choosing the technological solutions they decide to implement. Independence is also retained by the separated management of the customer base of each of the companies, as well as by confidentiality in the treatment of consumer information.
The partners note that the new sharing deal is particularly relevant at a time when Portugal is undergoing a profound economic and social transformation, which depends on the deployment of new technologies on a large scale. This last is borne out by figures newly released by national sector regulator Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM).
ANACOM says at the end of June 2017, almost half of fixed broadband users in Portugal (49.1%) had access speeds equal to or greater than 100 Mbits/s, versus 36.5% a year earlier. Since beginning of the year, optical fibre (FTTH/FTTB) has been the main form of fixed broadband Internet access in Portugal (35.4% of accesses). According to the regulator, the biggest contribution to the growth reported in the number of accesses has come from optical fibre (FTTH/FTTB). Over the last year, the number of fibre accesses has increased by 29.6% (280, 000). Over the second quarter, fibre accesses increased by 5.7% to 1.23 million.