Vodafone Portugal and Portugal Telecom have signed an agreement to deploy and share fibre networks.

The agreement, which begins in December 2014 and runs for 25 years, will enable each company to offer high-speed data services to an additional 450,000 homes and businesses throughout Portugal.

Both operators will maintain complete autonomy and flexibility in designing their respective retail offers under the agreement. 

Vodafone said the agreement brings significant “time to market” benefits and will enable its Portuguese arm to offer high-speed broadband, fixed telephony and television services to almost two million homes by the end of 2015.

The UK-based operator said the deal complements its FTTH deployment programme in Portugal. It claimed it is ahead of schedule as it aims to reach 1.5 million homes with FTTH by mid-2015.

[Read more: Vodafone teams up with energy company to offer FTTH in Ireland]

Vodafone Europe CEO Philipp Humm commented: “This fibre sharing agreement is significant as it accelerates our fibre-to-the-home roll-out plans and enables us to bring converged products and services to almost half a million more homes and businesses across Portugal.” 

Vodafone Portugal has over 5.4 million mobile customers and around 240,000 fixed broadband customers, of whom approximately 190,000 are television customers.

The subsidiary is struggling financially – service revenues were down 8.4 percent in the last financial year – and it was part of the £6.6 billion that Vodafone wrote off.

Meanwhile, PT said the agreement will help it to pass 2.1 million homes with FTTH. In addition, it said it will enable “higher dynamism” in the retail market thanks to an enhanced ability to distribute broadband and TV offers with higher speeds and quality. The incumbent is currently negotiating a merger with Brazil’s Oi.

Both Vodafone and PT are facing a new threat from NOS, the new name for Portugal’s third major player Zon Optimus.

In May, CEO Miguel Almeida told European Communications that his year-old company had acquired nearly 150,000 new quad-play customers and is targeting a five percent gain in Portugal's telecoms market.

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