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O2 Demands Access to Openreach’s Network Infrastructure

Openreach must grant mobile operators similar access to its network infrastructure as it currently allows to internet service providers (ISPs), according to the head of 02.

Mark Evans, chief exec of O2, made the claim in an interview with British newspaper, The Daily Mail, earlier this week.

“Why should one sector be treated differently to another sector? I’d like to see Openreach give mobile players the same access to their infrastructure,” he said.

‘That’s a message we’ll be putting forward to BT and the regulator. If the UK wants brilliant 5G coverage and services, then that’s going to be critical,’ he added.

O2 has been involved in a high profile, public spat with BT over the possible launch date for 5G in the UK. BT has said that it will aim to commercially launch fifth generation mobile technology in 2019, while O2’s parent company, Telefonica, has said that any pre-2020 5G launch would represent a watered down version of the technology.

Evans’ latest comments appear to be an continuation of that argument, with the O2 chief exec calling on BT to avoid hindering 5G rollout across the UK.

“If they are minded to help the UK accelerate innovation and drive 5G then they will [grant access to key infrastructure]. If they’re looking to avoid competition and slow down investment, then maybe they’ll kick it into touch and fight the battle with the regulator or maybe in the courts. I hope not, Evans said.

In an interview with Total Telecom earlier this month, BT Consumer Division’s CEO, Marc Allera, said thatBT was fully committed to helping the UK rollout 5G as quickly and as comprehensively as possible. – Total Telecom

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