T-Mobile and 3 UK, through their joint venture company, Mobile Broadband Network Ltd (MBNL), have signed a five-year managed network solutions agreement with BT to provide high-speed, next-generation links connecting 7,500 base station sites on their consolidated 3G infrastructure. The network services contract supersedes the original contracts that BT had in place with both T-Mobile and 3 UK.
T-Mobile and 3 formed their infrastructure sharing agreement in January 2008. The network consolidation agreement is significantly increasing both operators’ 3G network quality and coverage, accelerating the provision of new high-speed mobile broadband services and will deliver substantial cost savings as well as environmental benefits.
BT’s next-generation Ethernet service is currently being rolled out to the widest national footprint in the UK market. With flexible, high-speed bandwidth, the service will deliver improved access and backhaul service delivery to MBNL. It is the latest new service to launch on BT’s 21CN global platform, which extends to 170 countries worldwide. The migration of the common backhaul network to Ethernet technology will follow BT’s roll-out programme. In the shorter term, BT will continue to upgrade the legacy leased line connections.
Emin Gurdenli, Technology Director at T-Mobile UK, said: “We are now moving ahead with the large scale consolidation of cell sites with the objective of achieving scale and integrating quickly and smoothly. This agreement with BT will make sure backhaul is not a constraint now or in the future at a time when T-Mobile is experiencing strong growth in mobile broadband and other mobile data services. It will help ensure we continue to deliver a superior mobile broadband experience to our customers.”
The aim of MBNL is to establish the UK’s most extensive 3G network by 2010, providing close to complete population coverage for 3G services and significantly improving in-building coverage. MBNL selected BT on the basis of its ability to deliver the required capacity to support both JV partners’ projected growth in mobile broadband traffic, while generating significant cost savings over the life of the contract.
Graham Baxter, Chief Technology Officer at 3 UK, said: “This contract forms a vital element of our work to build the UK’s best mobile broadband network. Given the massive growth in the use of data on our network, the BT agreement brings us the scalability we will require in a critical element of the network consolidation.”
Brian Fitzpatrick, managing director of BT Wholesale Markets, said: “The commitment from MBNL to expand upon our initial agreements with T-Mobile and 3 underlines the value our managed network services deliver to customers. BT now supports the base station connectivity requirements of four of the five mobile players in the UK market, bringing our economies of scale to a hugely important element of the communications marketplace.
“Achieving revenue growth without the pressures of making significant investments in infrastructure expansion is critical for all mobile operators. Through our 21CN platform, we can help our customers like T-Mobile and 3 to future-proof their networks and deliver innovative, high-performance services to their own customers.”