Vodafone Group struck a fibre-sharing agreement with rival Portugal Telecom that will see the two operators deploy and share high-speed fixed networks to 900,000 homes and businesses.
The UK operator is pursuing a quadplay strategy in Europe which involves buying – or in this case building – fixed infrastructure alongside its mobile networks.
The agreement in Portugal will enable each operator to reach an additional 450,000 premises.
This figure is on top of Vodafone’s existing fibre deployment in the country, which aims to reach 1.5 million homes by mid-2015. It has already hit the one million mark with its rollout.
Vodafone and its rival will offer competitive retail services.
The latest deal enables Vodafone to bring services to users quicker than going it alone, it said. By end-2015, it expects to have nearly two million homes connected to fibre.
The agreement with Portugal Telecom starts in December this year and runs for 25 years.
Elsewhere in Europe, Vodafone is largely opting for a buy strategy to gain fixed infrastructure. It has targeted cable television networks. Over the past year, it has purchased Ono in Spain, Germany’s Kabel Deutschland and an ongoing bid with Wind for Greece’s Forthnet.
In Ireland it is jointly installing fibre with partner ESB but will offer access to all comers on a wholesale basis.
Vodafone is Portugal’s second-largest mobile operator with 5.46 million mobile connections (GSMA Intelligence, Q2 2014), behind Portugal Telecom. There are two other smaller rivals – NOS and Zapp.
The UK operator also has 240,000 fixed broadband subscribers, of whom about 190,000 are pay-TV users.