Portuguese telcos announce infrastructure-sharing deal, with commercial offers to start from early 2018

Vodafone’s Portuguese business has brokered a deal with rival operator Nos that will see the pair jointly roll out fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure and share access to mobile towers.

The agreement covers the reciprocal sharing of dark fibre to around 2.6 million homes and businesses in both existing and greenfield areas, the operators announced on Monday.

Nos added that each operator would invest an equivalent amount, but it did not elaborate on the value of that investment.

In a separate statement, Vodafone said the deal gives it access to an addition 1.3 million homes and businesses in Portugal, including new fibre builds in Nos’s cable footprint, Nos’s existing fibre reach, and new-build homes. As a result, the telco said it will be able to cover 4 million properties in Portugal, up from 2.7 million at present, representing 80% of the country’s households.

Both operators said they will be able to begin commercial services over the new shared infrastructure from the start of 2018.

They made it clear that they will maintain fully separate commercial offers. Vodafone added that the deal excludes the link between the central office and the fibre backbone, active equipment and CPEs.

Vodafone made no mention of a second strand to the agreement, that, according to Nos, will see the pair share mobile masts. They will share a minimum of 200 mobile towers, the operator said.

"With the expansion of our next-generation fibre footprint and reinforcement of our mobile coverage, we will not only be fulfilling our commitment to invest and create conditions for Portuguese businesses to embrace the challenges of digital transformation, but we will also be providing Portuguese families with the best choice of commercial offers and service quality available," said Miguel Almedia, Nos chief executive.

Join Total Telecom for Connected Europe in Lisbon next week, where we will hear from speakers from Vodafone, Nos and arch-rival Portugal Telecom, amongst many others.