Multi-million-pound SSE Enterprise Telecoms deal gives mobile operator access to up to 440 BT exchanges

3UK on Monday ramped up its 5G preparations with a deal to connect thousands of its masts with fibre.

The mobile operator has reached an agreement with SSE Enterprise Telecoms through which it will gain access to an initial 170 BT exchanges – and up to 270 more on a longer-term basis – facilitating fibre connectivity between its base stations and its core network.

The result, 3UK said, will be a 20-fold increase in network capacity, as it works to meet projected end user demand of around 90 GB per month by 2025.

"By significantly increasing our access to fibre, we are putting our network on the best footing possible to take advantage of the benefits of 5G technology," said 3UK CTO Bryn Jones, in a statement. "Our customers use 3.5 times more data per month than the average UK consumer and this deal will help us maintain our leadership in providing a fantastic data service. Fibre is essential to the UK’s digital future and more needs to be done to improve its availability to ensure that the UK benefits from 5G at the earliest opportunity."

3UK’s multi-million-pound deal with SSE Enterprise Telecoms builds on a framework agreement established between the two companies earlier this year.

Under the deal, SSE agreed to provide a fibre resilience ring to all of the operator’s data centres.