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Virgin Media to beef up mobile-data backhaul

Three, Orange, T-Mobile ink £100m deal for extra grunt

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Three, T-Mobile and Orange customers will find it quicker to use the internet on their phones thanks to a new deal between the operators and Virgin Media Business. But the effects may take a couple of years to kick in.

Virgin Media has sold use of its UK-wide network of cables to the three carriers in an eight-year £100m deal. Virgin will also build 14 regional data centres to boost bandwidth to Three, T-Mobile and Orange.

Under the deal, Virgin Media will provide bandwidth to the phone masts at a rate of 1 gigabit per second. We're still stuck with the 3G network for the second stage of the process: getting internet content from mast to phone aerial. So while the new Ethernet backhaul removes some bottlenecks from the process, others remain.

The new Ethernet system will also lay groundwork for the faster, more efficient 4G network, which will bring in speeds of 100Mb/s to end users, compared to the 1-3Mb/s available on 3G. But don't hold your breath for 4G internet, it's not coming to the UK for several more years.

Virgin Media said in a press release:

"With mobile data traffic set to increase by 33 times over the next decade all mobile operators are under increasing pressure to deal with the surge in mobile data. The mobile backhaul network will unlock capacity for the future." ®

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