Telefonica O2 Ireland and Eircom have agreed a new strategic partnership which they say will create the first comprehensive mobile network sharing arrangement in the country.

The deal brings greater co-operation in a number of areas of mobile network sharing such as site equipment, power supply, technology and transmission sharing.

A new team, made up of existing network staff from both organisations, will be set up to manage the day-to-day build and operation of the distinct networks.

The two companies say that while they will work closely together, there is no transfer of assets and spectrum will not be shared under the new arrangement.

'All mobile operations supported by O2 (O2 and Tesco Mobile) and Eircom (Meteor and eMobile) will continue to compete with each other, ensuring that customer choice in the market is maintained,' the two firms stated.

O2 Ireland and Eircom said that with growing demand for higher bandwidth services across the country, the partnership will facilitate the introduction of new technologies to provide customers with wider and faster broadband speeds.

Network sharing initiatives are becoming the norm globally, with such moves already implemented in a number of countries including the UK, Spain, France and the Czech Republic.