Kyivstar, Vodafone Ukraine agree on sharing of networks to develop 4G in rural areas, on highways
The memorandum of intent for the joint use of the passive and active infrastructure of their mobile networks has been signed by the mobile communications operators Kyivstar and Vodafone Ukraine.
According to a joint press release of the companies issued on Thursday, sharing telecommunications infrastructure will enable the parties to accelerate the deployment of 4G networks in rural areas and on highways.
The memorandum takes into account the use of not only communication channels, but also towers, as well as other equipment. Cooperation using telecom infrastructure will enable operators to avoid duplication in the process of building networks, which will accelerate the provision of access to 4G/LTE services for subscribers living in sparsely populated areas.
Now Kyivstar and Vodafone Ukraine are identifying mobile network sections and settlements for sharing infrastructure. The operators plan to begin practical implementation of the memorandum in November-December 2020 after the approval of the project by government bodies.
"Partnership and cooperation in the use of mobile networks will allow the operators to accelerate the bridging of the digital gap between megacities and villages, and to fulfill their investment plans despite the decrease in market income. We proposed that all mobile operators of Ukraine join the memorandum," Kyivstar President Alexander Komarov said.
He said that the memorandum is open to all players who want to develop new mobile technologies on mutually beneficial conditions.
"Such unbiased and seemingly insurmountable circumstances as lockdown and the lack of roaming revenues could make adjustments to the implementation of coverage. But we understand the importance of building infrastructure as soon as possible to ensure equal access to digital services. Sharing networks will make our investment more effective," CEO of Vodafone Ukraine Olha Ustinova said.
In her opinion, this will also give the operator the opportunity not only to adhere to the obligations assumed for coverage, but also to bring high-speed Internet to small villages with a population of less than 2,000 people.
For its part, the National Commission for Communications and Informatization Regulation (NCCR) also welcomes cooperation between operators in building networks.
"We are pleased that Vodafone Ukraine supported this idea of the NCCR. We welcome cooperation between operators, in particular in building networks," Chairman of the commission Oleksandr Zhyvotovsky said, expressing the hope that other operators will also join the memorandum and the process of mutually beneficial cooperation.
According to him, active sharing is an effective way to optimize the costs of building and maintaining networks and quickly covering the territory of Ukraine with a high-quality signal and mobile Internet access and fulfilling licensing conditions in the 900 MHz band.
The signing of the memorandum was supported by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine.
In accordance with the decree of the President of Ukraine on some measures to improve access to mobile Internet, mobile operators should provide 4G communications to settlements with a population of 2,000 or more, as well as major roads in the coming years.