O2 extends 4G backhaul with Virgin Media Business

Mobile operator O2 will use Virgin Media Business’s superfast fibre network to bring capacity for its 4G roll-out later in 2013

Virgin Media Business has signed a deal with O2 to provide extra capacity to the mobile operator's network in preparation for its roll-out of 4G services.

O2 is due to enter the 4G race later in 2013 but it needs to grow its backhaul for greater speed.

O2 will link its basestations to Virgin Media Business’s superfast fibre network through high-speed Ethernet, which promises 1Gbps connections between the cell sites and the mobile network.

The deal has been signed for 10 years between Virgin and O2’s parent company Telefonica, although the figures of how much it is costing the operator have not been revealed.

"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,” said Adrian Di Meo, chief technology officer at Telefonica UK.

“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.”

Virgin claimed it has now secured contracts with all the UK’s mobile networks to help with their backhaul needs.

“By working closely in partnership with mobile operators we’ve been able to develop and deploy innovative and unique technologies that enable Sync–E as standard,” said George Wareing, director of mobile and broadcast at Virgin Media Business.

“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.”

“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.”

EE is currently the only operator to provide 4G services in the UK, although its rivals are all set for launch in 2013.

However, a report released yesterday by YouGov showed 33% of consumers "can't see the point" of 4G, while 31% have no idea of the benefits it offers.

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