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T-Mobile and Orange Conclude Network Sharing Agreement in Poland
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T-Mobile and Orange have signed an agreement to share radio access networks in Poland. The deal covers management, planning, support, development and maintenance of the joint networks, which will be operated by a newly-formed company NetWorkS!.  The agreement will enable T-Mobile and Orange to reduce operating and investment costs in Poland. It also allows both operators to expand their network infrastructure, improve coverage and implement new technologies.

Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa, operator of the T-Mobile network, and PTK Centertel, operator of the Orange network, signed an agreement today to share their radio access networks. The agreement covers management, planning, support, development and maintenance of the joint networks. These tasks are going to be performed by NetWorkS!, a newly-formed company in which both operators hold an equal 50% of shares.

"The agreement signed today and the creation of NetWorks! are a major step forward in the development of the telecommunications market in Poland. Joint management and extension of the network infrastructure of both operators will soon provide customers with tangible benefits, such as improved network coverage and network quality, as well as access to the latest technologies. Thanks to this co-operation each operator will be able to invest funds more effectively and to expand the network infrastructure faster,” said Miroslaw Rakowski, CEO of Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa. "It is also significant that Poland’s two leading telecommunication firms - which fiercely compete against each other and will continue to do so - are able to join forces for the benefit of the market and the customers. Together, we will manage the best and the largest mobile infrastructure in this country," said Rakowski.

"Our ultimate goal has always been to ensure customer satisfaction. This agreement will enable us to provide our users with better network coverage across the country and significantly improve the quality and ease of use of their mobiles, laptops and tablets. This is one of our key strategic imperatives - we will deliver high quality services to all of our customers whilst significantly reducing our financial expenditure," said Maciej Witucki, CEO of TP Group. "In a highly demanding market that is still consolidating, this partnership gives us a keen competitive edge over other players."

One of the main goals of this co-operation is to create top-class mobile networks in Poland, and - consequently - to achieve a visible improvement in the quality of services and an extension of their range. This will allow both operators to:

  • Improve network coverage, both geographically and indoors, thus supporting the provision of new services, including broadband access to mobile Internet for an increasing number of customers,
  • Ensure high network quality based on appropriate agreements which guarantee operational quality thanks to the joint control over the new company exercised by both operators,
  • Reduce operating costs and investment expenditures.

The most significant benefits are related to short-term acceleration of the modernization of the entire RAN network to the most modern technology, compatible and supporting latest standards. Upfront investment in the first three years will allow to save up to 29% of the total RAN cost on a longer-term basis, in line with the reduction in total number of sites.
Thanks to the co-operation, the operators will be able to eliminate duplicating base stations in close proximity, and share the remaining stations across the country. The co-operation will be based on a similar number of base stations for each operator. Despite the overall reduction of base stations, each operator will be able to serve its customers using approximately 10 000 stations - a significant increase on the current situation, where PTC has around 7 000 stations, and PTK around 6 400 stations. Additionally, the reduction of the overall number of stations in Poland will enable the companies to optimize network maintenance costs and allow further technology investments for the benefit of customers and the environment.

Due to the scale of the undertaking, the implementation of the new network solutions will take place gradually until the year 2014, with the first positive effects to be visible in selected regions of the country in the first half of 2012. Intensive work will continue over the coming months to develop an adaptation planof the operators' networks and the preparation of a tender procedure for the supply of new equipment. The undertaking is to be realized by NetWorkS!, to which the operators will transfer their employees responsible for radio networks planning, building and maintenance

The agreement is set over a term of 15 years, with an option to extend. The RAN sharing agreement between PTK Centertel and PTC will be limited to technical aspects. Each party remains the owner of their networks and frequencies. Both operators will continue to compete in the wholesale and retail market of telecommunications services under their existing brands.