Global telecom giants Telefónica and China Unicom have signed an accord to share their international data centre capacity [PDF] and applications for cloud clients across Europe, The Americas and Asia.

The initial stage of the agreement covers three major data centre facilities from each company, and provides a foundation for what the two operators hope will be a wide-ranging cloud services partnership offering multinational IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) with virtual servers and multi-cloud solutions.

The cooperation will see China Unicom support its clients looking to move into Europe and The Americas, with access to Telefónica’s capacity in São Paolo, Brazil, Miami in the States, and Alcalá de Henares in Madrid, Spain.

Telefónica will also be able to provide a platform for its users to expand into Asia, taking advantage of China Unicom’s country-wide data centre footprint with sites in Langfang, Shanghai and Chongqing.

According to Telefónica, the combined approach will enable greater efficiency in aggregation, easier data sharing, more opportunities to develop data platforms and global collaborations, and the ability to better leverage economies of scale.

“Pooling expertise in this way allows for greater flexibility and the capacity to draw from technology innovation without the need to recruit new technicians or provide additional training to staff due to the in-built access to specialised levels of resources and IT skillsets,” read today’s statement.

China Unicom’s data centre offering includes computing, storage, network servers operating space, power, HVAC, as well as other key support solutions. It also provides international connectivity across VPN, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) and Global LAN, as well as mobile broadband (WCDMA, LTE FDD, TD-LTE), fixed-line broadband, GSM, and fixed-line local access. At the end of May this year, the company had reached over 439mn subscribers.

Telefónica has a presence in 21 countries and has a global customer base of around 329mn users, with its core markets  based in Spain, the rest of Europe and Latin America.