Italian mobile operators TIM and 3 have become the latest European firms to enter into a mobile site-sharing agreement. The three-year deal will cover the sharing of radio mobile equipment at both existing and future sites, and will cover a minimum of 2,000 sites. The agreement, which renews and widens the contents of a previous contract, covers passive infrastructures such as poles, cables, electricity supply and conditioning systems and other civil infrastructures. However, in a statement the operators noted that “the agreement does not include electronic devices which permit the supply of mobile telephony services to their customers or relative management services.” The operators are targeting cost savings of 30 percent.

“The value of this agreement is two-fold,” said Stefano Pileri, director of technology and operations at Telecom Italia. “From the point of view of efficiency, it will be possible to significantly reduce the cost of site leases, one of the highest cost items in mobile networks. Secondly, the progressive reduction of the number of antennas will have a positive impact on the environment.” Network-sharing is becoming widespread across Europe as operators look to cut costs. In France, for example, the sharing of passive facilities such as sites, buildings, towers and masts accounts for 20 percent to 40 percent of current sites, and the regulator (Arcep) has recently called for passive sharing to be actively pursued for further 3G rollout.