To share or not to share? The impact of mobile network sharing for consumers and operators

20 September 2021

Pantelis Koutroumpis, Pau Castells, and Kalvin Bahia
View Journal Article / Working Paper

This paper assesses the impact of mobile network sharing in Europe during the 2000-2019 period, looking at 140 mobile operators in 29 countries. We find that - consistent with economic theory - network sharing generated significant benefits for operators and consumers, including lower prices and improved network coverage and quality. This was driven by cost reductions, higher returns on investment and increased competition. These effects materialised heterogeneously, with the impact of network sharing depending on the type of sharing, the technology cycle in which it is entered into as well as the market position and size of the operators entering the agreement. This has important implications going forward as it shows that network sharing can play a vital role in the deployment of new 5G networks and that the technological and market specificity of each type of sharing agreement can significantly affect its outcomes.