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Telefonica, Spanish owners of O2, have signed a ten-year deal with Virgin Media Business to increase capacity on its mobile network. This agreement will see a new fibre network added to the communications provider’s installed base stations. This will increase capacity and speed which is needed to support the launch of O2’s 4G network later this summer.

Virgin Media Business will connect base stations to its fibre network via a high capacity Ethernet service. Telefónica says each high speed link will deliver data speeds of 1Gbps between different parts of its network.  O2 chief technology officer Adrian Di Meo said the deal meant the mobile operator would be able to keep up with demand for 3G traffic, more so as 4G is expected to put extra strain on operators. “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,” he said. “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 said it now has contracts with all UK mobile operators for backhaul connectivity.  “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 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,” he added.

O2 is expected to reveal the switch on date for its 4G network in the next few weeks.

EE, which was the first UK mobile operator to offer nationwide 4G services in October last year on the back of its own 1800Mhz spectrum, recently announced it is increasing its 4G speeds to a potential 150Mbps down.

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