O2 has taken a further step to strengthen its network capacity by signing a 10 year backhaul deal with Virgin Media Business.
The deal swiftly follows a partnership signed in April with BT for backhaul. O2 was relatively cautious with its spend during this year's 4G auction, raising fears it could face a capacity crisis in the months and years ahead.
As part of the deal, Virgin Media Business will connect base stations to its fibre network via an ethernet service, which it said will deliver speeds of more than 1GB per second. O2 is expected to announce its plans for rolling out 4G across the UK in the coming weeks.
Adrian Di Meo, chief technology officer at O2, said: 'Over the past five years we’ve seen huge growth in demand for mobile data as the number of consumers using smartphones and tablets has increased. With our 4G network launching this summer, data growth will only continue to rise and this new fibre agreement with Virgin Media Business will give us the rock solid foundation we need and help us deliver a great network experience for our customers.'
George Wareing, director of mobile and broadcast at Virgin Media Business, said: 'Backhauling data is absolutely critical to ensuring that mobile operators are able to provide customers with fast and reliable data services. Over the last two years we’ve secured mobile backhaul contracts with all four of the UK’s major mobile network operators. It’s a sign that the backhaul market is moving extremely quickly and thanks to the speed and resilience of our fibre network, we’ve been able to make the most of that opportunity.'
He added: 'This approach means we’re able to arm their networks with the extra capacity needed to make sure that customers don’t experience slow speeds because of data bottlenecks, and that they’re prepared for the future of 4G services and beyond.'
Author: Graeme Neill