Virgin Media Business to provide O2 with mobile backhaul for 4G LTE

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Virgin Media Business is to provide Telefónica UK with mobile backhaul to boost the capacity on its 4G LTE network, which is being rolled out this summer.

O2’s base stations will be connected to Virgin Media Business’ fibre network so that the Telefónica subsidiary will be able to offer faster mobile data speeds of 1Gbps between the cell site and its aggregation network.

During the UK’s 4G LTE auction in February, O2 was widely regarded to have failed to secure the spectrum it had wanted, ending up with 2x10 MHz of spectrum at 800 MHz.

The spectrum it acquired came with a coverage obligation attached to it requiring the operator to provide a mobile broadband indoor coverage service to at least 98 percent of the UK population and 95 percent of the population of each of the UK nations by the end of 2017.

"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, CTO at Telefónica 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.”

In April, O2 signed a similar deal with BT Wholesale.

George Wareing, director of mobile and broadcast, Virgin Media Business, commented: "Backhauling data is absolutely critical to ensuring that mobile operators are able to provide customers with fast and reliable data services.”

The company now has 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,” continued Wareing. “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 [a physical layer based synchronisation implementation for packet networks requiring frequency synchronisation].

“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.”