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Mobile Infrastructure Sharing

Strategic rationale for infrastructure sharing

Strategic rationale for

infrastructure sharing
4.1 Drivers of infrastructure sharing

The commercial drivers of infrastructure sharing

and the types of infrastructure sharing agreement
are likely to differ between countries and according
to levels of market maturity.
In the early phases of network development,
infrastructure sharing is most commonly sitesharing and roaming, which are used to facilitate
quick network roll-out, at a lower cost, by new
entrants. Facilitating sharing can provide an
additional revenue source and lower costs to the
incumbent operators.
As networks mature, and their focus shifts from
deployment to service innovation, drivers such as
cost reduction become increasingly important as
operators seek to optimise profits and revenues.
In this context, two or more incumbent operators
may seek to join part or all of their individual
networks and to build out additional coverage in
a unified manner.

A number of broad key strategic and commercial

drivers exist:
Network expansion into underserved areas
that would otherwise be unprofitable or have a
payback period greater than the business target.
Cost reduction.
Incremental revenue sources.
Capex / opex optimisation.
Facilitation of market entry.
The table below provides some of the key drivers
for each type of infrastructure sharing separately
from the perspective of the network using another
networks assets (except for RAN sharing, which
often implies a truly shared investment in a
common set of assets).

Figure 5: Key drivers for different types of

infrastructure sharing
Type of Sharing

Strategic Drivers

Site (co-location)
Reduced site acquisition times for new entrants

Access to locations of strategic importance,
particularly where space for new sites is limited

Increased likelihood of obtaining planning
permission for new sites

Reduced opex (site lease)

Expansion into previously unprofitable areas by
reducing capex and opex requirements

Environmental and alleged health concerns,
for example, increasing pressure from
environmental groups on existing operators to
reduce the number of cell sites due to health
Mast (tower)

Reduced site acquisition and build completion

Reduced capex (site build)
Reduced environmental and visual impact

Reduced number of sites and masts for the same
Reduced capex and opex
(shared physical backhaul)

Reduced environmental and visual impact
Core network
Fibre ring

Capex and opex saving where spare capacity

Core network elements Delayed investment in core network elements

Reduced maintenance and operational costs

VAS systems

Delayed investment in VAS system elements

Increased capacity VAS systems
Enhanced capability
Reduced maintenance and operational costs


Reduced or delayed infrastructure investment

Increased coverage


Increased service coverage

Facilitation of the introduction of new
Seamless interoperability between operators own
separate 3G and 2G networks

Delayed investment in new technology