The Czech Republic’s O2, majority-owned by the PPF investment group since January, signed an LTE network-sharing agreement with Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile.

Covering the whole country – except for Brno and Prague – the deal involves the sharing of radio access equipment.

Both operators stress they will keep their core networks independent and maintain separate business strategies. The fight on speed and quality of service, they say, will continue.

O2 and T-Mobile claim the deal enables a quicker 4G rollout than the auction conditions stipulated, but they don’t reveal the extent of savings they expect to achieve.

A licence condition of the 4G auction, completed in November, was that spectrum winners must cover 50 per cent of districts within 30 months.

“This is a strategic step that follows on our current agreement on sharing 2G and 3G access networks,” said Milan Vasina, CEO of T-Mobile. “On top of a faster high-speed broadband roll-out, the agreement will also bring savings that will allow further investment into the networks and services.”

Luis Malvido, CEO of O2, added that sharing networks was a European trend, citing “similar successful projects“ in the UK, Sweden and France.

Both companies will start tests in the coming weeks “to assess the full functionality of the technical solution”.

Once all the processes are fine-tuned, expected in H2 2014, commercial sharing will begin.