Vodafone UK set out its stall as the first operator in the country to deploy 5G multi-operator RAN (MORAN) technology in its infrastructure, which it argued will eventually cut costs and reduce the environmental impact of its network.

In an update on the status of its 5G rollout, Vodafone said the introduction of MORAN would allow operators to share base stations. This, it added, would help cut energy usage and reduce the number of masts required.

While the operator already has an extensive passive infrastructure sharing agreement with O2 UK, via Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited, the latest technology deployed by Vodafone would potentially allow active sharing.

Sharing infrastructure is viewed as a key way of reducing the cost of connecting rural areas by operators, while also meeting regulator Ofcom’s aims of increasing competition in regions only served by one or two providers.

In October 2019 the market’s four players struck a £1 billion deal to pool resources to fill 4G coverage gaps in rural areas by sharing masts and other infrastructure.