Displaying items by tag: Virgin Media

Virgin signs 5G mobile deal with Vodafone UK

Written on Thursday, 07 November 2019 07:17

Virgin Media has agreed a five-year mobile deal with Vodafone to bring innovating new services to customers in the UK. The deal includes bringing 5G to around three million mobile users and will allow Virgin Media further flexibility to grow its mobile operation.

The new Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement, which runs until 2026, will see Vodafone supply wholesale mobile network services, including both voice and data, to Virgin Mobile and Virgin Media Business. Virgin Media will have full access to all of Vodafone’s current services and future technologies, such as Vodafone’s expanding 5G network, enabling new product advancements and benefits for its customers.

Virgin Media’s current MVNO agreement with BT Enterprise, which has been in place since January 2017, will come to an end in late 2021, at which point Virgin Media’s mobile offering will transition to Vodafone. Virgin Mobile 5G services are set to launch on the Vodafone network before the transition takes place.

The cable group currently uses BT’s mobile network EE in a deal that runs until 2021. Virgin will also launch 5G services via the Vodafone network before that point. This comes as a blow to BT as it comes under pressure to spend billions upgrading full-fibre capability. The current deal costs Virgin £200m a year.

Lutz Schüler, Virgin Media CEO, said: “We’ve worked with BT to provide mobile services for many years and will continue to work together in a number of areas. We want our customers to have a limitless experience - it’s now the right time to take a leap forward with Vodafone to grow further and faster”

He added: “This agreement with Vodafone will bring a host of fantastic benefits and experiences to our customers, including 5G services in the near future.  Twenty years ago Virgin Mobile became the world’s first virtual operator and this new agreement builds on that heritage. It will open up a whole new world of opportunity for Virgin Media as we focus on becoming the most recommended brand for customers and bring our mobile and broadband connectivity closer together in one package for one price.”

Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK CEO, said: “We are delighted that Virgin has recognised the huge investments we’ve made, and continue to make, in building the UK’s best mobile network and our role in challenging the market with new commercial services. As a result, they have chosen us to work with them in the next phase of their development.

Published in Telecom Operators

British energy giant SSE is reportedly looking to expand its scope by investing in ultrafast broadband infrastructure, accelerating its move into telecoms, and threatening firms such as BT and Virgin Media. SSE is said to be exploring the business case for laying new fiber optics to homes and businesses that would provide more efficient internet connections than copper lines or cable.

The company has been working towards infrastructure investments “all the time” according to David Walter, director of SSE’s broadband business, to establish itself in the telecoms sector, The Telegraph reports. However, at this stage no concrete decisions have been made by SSE and no investment is currently pending.  

SSE’s move into telecoms infrastructure laying could be viewed as a sign of confidence in the growing links between broadband and the utilities sector. SSE and its energy industry rivals are increasingly expanding their scopes to provide thermostats and other technology that requires an internet connection, thus closing the gap between utilities and communications. The move would also be welcomed by regulators that want more competition at the infrastructure level.

However, SSE’s move could also be seen as threatening and disrupting the marketplace with its investment, says Mimosa Networks CPO Jaime Fink. “To compete with BT and Virgin Media, SSE will need to select the right tools for the job,” he said. “Whilst the industry will always rely on deep fibre to feed bandwidth into neighbourhoods and urban areas, fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) is not cost effective and is disruptive to deploy.”

Fink believes SSE should “take lessons from internet providers in the US and use fixed wireless to deliver broadband to the home, which offers speeds akin to FTTH, at nearly one-tenth of the cost.”

Fink added, “New US broadband market entrants such as Google and Facebook are leveraging fixed wireless, with established players such as AT&T and Verizon also considering this approach for rapidly commercialising 5G. The technology could help SSE serve all environments efficiently across the UK, undercutting the market with the speed and price of its service.”

It’s likely that SSE’s investment in new fibre optics would be with partners, according to Mr. Walter. The cost of building the new connections, he said, could be shared with retail rivals, and SEE could use existing backbone networks in the UK, like those owned by CityFibre and Vodafone.

A similar project by TalkTalk in York has caught the attention of SSE to watch how things pan out. Mr. Walter hasn’t ruled out a major acquisition such as TalkTalk as a way of shortcutting SSE’s way to high status in the industry, but he said the company had a “clear idea of [what] multiple broadband subscribers are worth.”

Published in Infrastructure