O2 signs 4G backhaul deal with Virgin Media Business

O2 has signed a ten-year deal with Virgin Media Business to increase capacity on its mobile network.

The agreement will see a new fibre network added to the communications provider's installed base stations. This will increase capacity and support the launch of O2's 4G network later this summer.

O2 base stations will be linked up by 1Gbps fibre optic broadband connections between cell sites and the backhaul network in order to cope with the expected demand for the superfast service.

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 SyncE 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.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.