n response to a questionnaire circulated amongst national regulatory authorities (NRAs), BEREC and the Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) published a report on 5 July 2011 relating to infrastructure and spectrum sharing in mobile/wireless networks. The report focuses on the extent to which sharing exists between providers; on what scale this sharing is agreed; and what competition issues arise as a result.
The report, based on research and the answers to a survey from participating RSPG/BEREC members, shows that in all 27 EU member states both active infrastructure sharing and passive infrastructure sharing agreements exist between leading service providers. Additionally, there is a trend throughout the EU to an increase in these types of sharing agreements. The intensity of the sharing arrangement is, however, likely to vary in each case. The report notes that, in the UK, the current trend is towards large-scale network sharing rather than ad hoc arrangements and cites the creation of Everything/Everywhere by the Orange and TMobile merger in 2010 as a recent UK example.
The report highlights that infrastructure sharing agreements may raise potential issues regarding their compatibility with Article 101 TFEU. However, when these arrangements are compatible with competition law, companies can benefit from greater efficiency due to large reductions in costs, allowing them to diversify their product range.