'Tis the Season for Sharing?

1:00 PM -- Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and Orange UK both say they have no plans to expand their existing network-sharing deal, as was reported in The Observer over the weekend.

A Vodafone spokesman tells Unstrung: "There is no pending announcement for any new deal to expand that arrangement with Orange. There is no expansion on the cards. There is nothing in the pipeline."

The Observer reported that Vodafone and Orange were about to enter into a new network sharing agreement in the U.K. The report said that the move would save Vodafone £1 billion (US$1.5 billion) per year.

An Orange spokesman emailed the following statement to us:
    Recent press stories on Vodafone and Orange entering into a new network sharing deal are wildly speculative. The suggested figure of £1 billion was not supplied by either party, neither is it recognised by Vodafone or Orange. Orange is not able to confirm the expected costs savings of the network share until the details of the rollout are completed.
Vodafone and Orange have a deal to share base station sites in the U.K. for their 2G and 3G networks. In Spain, it is understood that the two operators are experimenting with sharing active elements in the base stations. (See Vodafone & Orange Share 3G, Vodafone, Orange Revamp Network Share Deal, Will More Mobile Operators Dare to Share?, and 3 & T-Mobile Share 3G in the UK.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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