O2’s forthcoming 4G mobile network will be supported by backhaul provided by Virgin Media Business.
This ten year deal has been set up in order to provide O2 with enough 4G juice to cope with expected demand. O2 trials of 4G have yielded top download speeds of 150Mbps and the true blue network aims to have 98 per cent population coverage by 2017. In other words, a lot of people will be chowing down on that 4G over the next decade.
Adrian Di Meo, chief technology officer for Telefonica UK says: “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.”
Read Recombu Digital’s guide to 4G in the UKVirgin Media Business will connect O2 base stations with 1Gbps fibre optic broadband connections. This doesn’t mean that 1Gbps speeds will be available on O2’s 4G network, and even if it did it’d be years before there were phones, tablets and mobile broadband dongles capable of getting those speeds.
Right now, the fastest speed you could hope to get on any mobile device in the UK is 150Mbps, available on just two devices, the Huawei Ascend P2 phone and the E5776 MiFi, made for EE. That said, within ten years 5G standards could be defined and 1Gbps could well be a thing.
But today’s announcement basically means that everyone can look forwards to reliable 4G networks when they launch. George Wareing, director of mobile and broadcast for Virgin Media Business says:
“Backhauling data is absolutely critical to ensuring that mobile operators are able to provide customers with fast and reliable data services. Over the last two years we’ve secured mobile backhaul contracts with all four of the UK’s major mobile network operators. 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.
“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.”
O2 has yet to announce a solid launch date for its 4G network, but it says it will be live sometime this summer.