Mobile infrastructure sharing in the UK
Produced in partnership with Dhana Doobay of Charles Russell Speechlys
Mobile infrastructure sharing in the UK

The following TMT guidance note Produced in partnership with Dhana Doobay of Charles Russell Speechlys provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Mobile infrastructure sharing in the UK
  • Key types of infrastructure sharing
  • Strategic rationale for sharing infrastructure
  • Infrastructure sharing models
  • Legal red flags
  • Competition and regulatory factors
  • The future

This Practice Note explores the network and facilities sharing arrangements entered into by mobile network operators (MNOs). In examining the key types of infrastructure sharing, the strategic rationale behind the practice, infrastructure sharing models, and competition issues it presents an overview of how legal and regulatory risks may be best managed.

It covers the following:

  1. Key types of infrastructure sharing

  2. Strategic rationale for sharing infrastructure

  3. Infrastructure sharing models

  4. Legal red flags

  5. Competition and regulatory factors

  6. The future

Navigating the complex waters of negotiating network and facilities sharing arrangements can bring significant benefits for MNOs. Strategic sharing initiatives continue to present significant cost saving opportunities, whether collaborating with market competitors, or through tie-ups with independent tower companies or facilities providers. However, as this Practice Note illustrates, it remains key to ensure that inherent legal and regulatory risks are managed effectively when negotiating and concluding arrangements.

Key types of infrastructure sharing

MNOs generally share their mobile network infrastructure in either a passive or active way, depending on the type of infrastructure to be shared.

Passive infrastructure sharing

This involves the sharing or co-locating of non-electronic infrastructure at a physical location or site, or the site itself where mobile equipment is located.

Common passive assets which are shared between MNOs are towers, masts, antennas (without integrated signal amplifiers), cables, ducts, and/or related facilities/services such as filters, power