Maksym Yemelyanov - Fotolia
Virgin Media-owned mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Virgin Mobile plans to rapidly scale-up its offering and deliver new services to its customers after signing an agreement with its network provider EE.
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The agreement, which replaces a previous deal between Virgin and the BT-backed operator, will run on an exclusive basis through to 2021 and will see EE provide wholesale mobile network coverage for voice and data services for Virgin Mobile across the UK.
Virgin Mobile managing director Peter Kelly said relying on EE’s network, which consistently tops many independent assessments for mobile availability and speed, would give him “more control and firepower”.
“Virgin Mobile customers want fast speeds, flexibility and plans packed full of data,” said Kelly. “We’re going to continue to deliver.”
BT CEO of wholesale and ventures, Gerry McQuade, added: “This has proven a successful relationship for both parties for many years and, as we enter a period of further technological change in the mobile market, we are very pleased to renew and extend our 17-year-old relationship.
“As the largest wholesale provider of telecommunications services in Europe, BT values the economy of scale that Virgin Media brings to our network.”
Virgin Mobile claims to have been the world’s first MVNO when it launched in 1999 using what was then the one2one mobile network to deliver its service.
Subsequently absorbed into cable provider NTL:Telewest, which rebranded under the Virgin umbrella 10 years ago, it now boasts around three million UK users on both pay-as-you-go and contract packages.
It launched its first consumer 4G service – having previously only offered it to business users – in November 2016, combining its offering with a number of services giving customers easier access to over-the-top (OTT) services and the ability to rollover unused data between contract periods.