Sunday 17 December 2017

Vodafone and 3 could announce deal to save firms €225m each in next couple of weeks

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Vodafone and 3 could announce a major deal within two weeks that will see them create a new joint venture to oversee their network infrastructure.

Neither company would comment on fresh reports that the pair are close to signing off on the plan.

However, it's expected that barring any last minute hitches, it could be finalised before the end of the month.

The move could pave the way for significant savings for both companies in Ireland.

It's thought the companies are particularly interested in limiting their exposure to new capital costs that will be incurred as they eventually roll out the new, faster 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks.

It's believed that neither side see any regulatory difficulties with telecoms watchdog Comreg in establishing their joint venture.

Both companies could be in line to save as much as €225m each over a five-year period once the venture is up and running. 3 is owned by Hong Kong-based conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa.

The group's €2bn bid to buy Eircom out of examinership was rejected in May.

Comreg is due to hold a spectrum auction in the very near future. That auction is expected to raise tens of millions of euro for the Exchequer.

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