The news coincides with reports of a potential merger with O2
This has been a huge week for Virgin Media.
Reports over the weekend suggested that a potential merger with O2 was on the cards, a move which would fundamentally reshape the UK telecoms market. The rumoured negotiations were yesterday confirmed by O2’s parent company, Telefonica.
As if that enormous deal on the horizon was not enough, today it has been announced that Virgin Media has added Three to its list of 5G backhaul customers, which already includes rival Vodafone as of last year.
The contract, the value of which has not been announced, will see Virgin Media’s fibre network connect to over 3,000 of Three’s 5G sites and will be instrumental in facilitating the latter’s role out of the next generation technology.
The agreement puts Virgin Media in a powerful position when it comes to 5G backhaul, supplying the fibre infrastructure for two of the UK’s four mobile operator’s 5G networks. If the merger with O2 does indeed come to pass, this will add a third operator to the fold, leaving BT’s EE the odd one out.
However, Virgin Media and BT are still fundamentally connected, with the two operators sharing mobile masts since 2007.
BT has held sway over the UK’s backhaul for years, but Virgin Media is quickly becoming a “backhaul bastion”, according to Peter Kelly, managing director of Virgin Media.
“Wholesale is a growth area for us,” said Kelly, noting Virgin Media’s creation of a distinct division last year to focus on deals with rival telcos.
How does Virgin Media’s breakthrough in the backhaul market reshape the UK’s 5G landscape? Find out from the operators at this year’s Connected Britain
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