Vodafone Group and multimedia company NOS have signed an agreement to deploy and share a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network that will reach around 2.6 million homes and businesses in Portugal. The partnership also covers mobile infrastructure, including at least 200 mobile towers.
The two companies will provide reciprocal access to each other’s networks on commercially agreed terms while retaining the freedom to decide how to provide retail services to customers.
The deal will see the two companies mount a stronger challenge to Meo, the brand of the former Portugal Telecom (now owned by Altice), which remains number one in the Portuguese fixed broadband market.
NOS Group – the company formed by the merger of cable operators ZON and Optimus in 2013 – is number two in the fixed broadband market while Vodafone Portugal is third, according to the latest information from regulator Anacom.
Under the terms of the agreement, NOS will increase its fibre-optic network coverage from 3.76 million to more than 4.4 million homes and businesses by the end of 2018, representing more than 80 per cent of all households in the country.
Meanwhile, Vodafone Portugal will gain access to 1.3 million properties in new areas, increasing its FTTH footprint from 2.7 million homes to 4.0 million. The company has invested heavily in FTTH networks over the past couple of years (see Vodafone Group expands FTTH networks in Ireland and Portugal).
The new properties reached will be though a mixture of new fibre builds by each operator to expand their current footprints, as well as sharing of existing connections – with Vodafone gaining access to NOS connections in areas new to Vodafone and vice versa.
The deal requires each operator to deploy and share optical fibre to homes, and to deploy but not share active equipment in the central office as well as the link from the central office to the fibre backbone. Customer connections and activations will be carried out independently, with each operator having freedom to decide how to design and sell their respective retail products.
The pair expect to start connecting new customers under the agreement from the start of calendar 2018.