This report reviews the potential impact of 5G on the growing trend of network sharing.

Opening with a thorough recap of traditional network-sharing mechanisms, it then examines how the various features and technologies associated with 5G (slicing, virtualisation, MIMO, DSS) could reconfigure technical options for the implementation of network sharing.

Three advanced use cases in Europe and China are analysed on how they best leverage 5G.

The onward surge of the trend is paving the way, the report concludes, for new business models in network sharing.

Table of contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Introduction to network sharing
2.1. Coverage requirements and cost savings, the main drivers for network sharing
2.2. What is network sharing? Focus on the different forms of network sharing

3. 5G and network sharing: a raft of change
3.1. From coverage pressure to capacity pressures
3.2. 5G spectrum pushes for more densification in the network
3.3. Why greater network density is needed to support more capacity
3.4. Increased capacity also means more pressure on backhaul capacity
3.5. Massive MIMO and beamforming: their impact on network sharing
3.6. Towards more centralised baseband processing and mutualisation of radio resources
3.7. Network slicing: at the heart of 5G transformation capability
3.8. Towards new forms of spectrum sharing?

4. Status of network sharing in the world: Player strategies
4.1. Vodafone network sharing case study
4.2. Fastweb – WindTre case study
4.3. China Telecom and China Unicom case study
4.4. Case studies: summarised

5. Unleashing new business models
5.1. Network slicing facilitates vertical separation
5.2. The changes that 5G will bring to network sharing

List of tables and figures

List of tables and figures

• Presentation of different network sharing architectures
• Main pros and cons of the different frequency bands
• How calling networks have evolved to accommodate more complex and demanding uses
• Comparison of cell and massive MIMO coverage
• Percentage of spectrum owned in each band vs competition
• 5G countries where Vodafone has a network sharing deal
• MNO market share as of June 2020 and evolution 2018-2020, in Italy
• What players offer, what they get from the sharing deal: Fastweb and WindTre
• 5G market forces in China as of mid-2020
• Network slicing and sharing has evolved, from infrastructure-based to service-based competition

Geographic area



  • China Mobile
  • China Telecom
  • China Unicom
  • Deutsche Telekom
  • Fastweb
  • Fiber Cop
  • FlashFiber
  • Go
  • Iliad
  • Linkem
  • O2 UK
  • Orange
  • Telecom Italia
  • Telefónica
  • TIM
  • Vantage Towers
  • Vodafone
  • Wind Tre

Other details

  • Reference: M20470MRA
  • Delivery: on the DigiWorld Interactive platform
  • Languages available: English
  • Tags: 5G, 5G Network sharing, DSS, MIMO, Slicing, Virtualization

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