Telefonica Agrees 10 Year O2 4G Backhaul Deal With Virgin Media Business

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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O2 4G coverage to be supported by Virgin Media fibre network

Telefonica UK has agreed a ten year backhaul deal with Virgin Media Business to support the O2 4G network when it launches later this summer.

O2’s base stations will be connected to the Virgin Media fibre network via a high capacity Ethernet service capable of delivering speeds of 1Gbps between the cell site and the aggregation network.

This should ensure that speeds do not slow in areas with high footfall and prevent congestion on the O2 4G core network, freeing up capacity.

O2 4G speeds

virgin media cloud liberty“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, 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 Media Business now has major backhaul deals with all four major UK networks having previously agreed partnerships with EE, Three and Vodafone and says O2 customers will have no problem using data intensive applications on the O2 4G service.

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

Backhaul deals

“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. 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.”

EE is currently the UK’s only 4G operator, but O2, Three and Vodafone all plan to launch similar services later this year after winning bandwidth in the Ofcom 4G spectrum auction.

O2 has already signed another backhaul deal with BT, which will see the company build a new high capacity transmission network. BT says that the transmission network will allow O2 to migrate from legacy time division multiplexing (TDM) to Ethernet-based IP services on the wired part of its network, allowing it to offer new applications to its customers while reducing its overall transmission costs.

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