Everything Everywhere and Three have cut a £100m deal with Virgin Media Business for access to high-speed mobile broadband in a bid to tackle rising data demand.
The eight-year contract will see Virgin Media Business build 14 regional aggregation networks across the UK for MBNL – the joint venture between Three UK and T-Mobile – to support 3G-enabled functionality from video calling to mobile TV.
Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett said: ‘People no longer expect to simply make calls from their mobile phone. Being connected all the time to social networks, the internet and their favourite apps is very much a basic expectation that operators need to deliver on. Investing now means they will be able to deal with the escalating data demands of today and tomorrow.'
MBNL MD Graham Payne said: ‘Mobile data and the increase in smartphone usage is a big growth opportunity for us. Connecting our users to the online world, from any location and from any device, is at the heart of what we do.
‘Working together with Virgin Media Business, the first company in the market to offer this synchronous Gigabit Ethernet service, we will be able to scale for future demand.'
The deal will help Everything Everywhere and Three cope with the soaring data demand that 4G is predicted to bring.
Ofcom is set to auction off the 800MHz and 2.6GHz high-speed data spectrum in the first quarter of 2012, which it hopes will provide better coverage and faster data rates for mobile users. However, this will only increase the demand for backhaul from cell towers to the internet.
George Wareing, head of Virgin Media Business’ wholesale markets for mobile network, said: ‘We have an advantage from our large consumer broadband network. We are used to building networks dimensioned for carrying data, as opposed to voice.’