Colombian operators Tigo and Movistar have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to create a jointly owned infrastructure company that will see the pair share their mobile access networks.

The creation of a shared infrastructure network is seen by the companies as a key part of the deployment of future 5G networks.

Bogotá, Colombia
– PaulaAndreaCastañedaRobayo/Wiki Commons

Combined, both operators serve over 35 million mobile users in 700 municipalities.

"If the operators manage to unify their networks, national coverage would be strengthened in about 10 percent of the territory," said a joint statement from Tigo and Movistar.

Despite the agreement, Tigo and Movistar plan to continue operating separately and competing with each other for market share.

5G services are yet to launch in Colombia, although the country is planning to launch a spectrum tender later this year.

“In Colombia, the sustainability of the telecommunications sector is at stake," said Tigo president Marcelo Cataldo. "This type of initiative will improve network quality for approximately 35 million users on the one hand, on the other, it will allow us to enable the deployment of the infrastructure that the country needs to continue closing the digital divide and prepare for the arrival of future technologies.”

Network sharing agreements are becoming more common in the telecoms industry, notably in the UK where Vodafone and O2 have established Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Limited (CTIL).

Movistar is the Colombian subsidiary of Spanish operator Telefónica, while Tigo is owned by Luxembourg telco Millicom.

This story also appeared in our Spanish edition.