Mobile network operator Three UK has inked an agreement with private telecoms network operator SSE Enterprise Telecoms to connect its network to 170 BT telephone exchanges.
The deal comes after a plea by mobile network operators last month to regulator Ofcom for help accessing unused or “dark” fibre networks of infrastructure giant BT.
The agreement will enable Three to connect some 6,000 mobile phone masts to its core network using fibre; laying the ground for future 5G infrastructure.
Bryn Jones, Three UK’s CTO, said: “By significantly increasing our access to fibre, we are putting our network on the best footing possible to take advantage of the benefits of 5G technology.”
He added: “Our customers use 3.5 times more data per month than the average UK consumer and this deal will help us maintain our leadership in providing a fantastic data service.”
Fibre Lays Ground for 5G
Ofcom projects that Three users will be using 90GB of data per month by 2025.
Three UK’s Jones added: “Fibre is essential to the UK’s digital future and more needs to be done to improve its availability to ensure that the UK benefits from 5G at the earliest opportunity.”
Colin Sempill, Managing Director at SSE Enterprise Telecoms commented in a release that: “5G will allow Three UK to grow capacity on its network more than twenty-fold. But for 5G to live up to its potential, the right infrastructure must be in place. High capacity fibre connectivity is absolutely critical.
“We’re fully invested in supporting the UK’s digital ambitions, demonstrated in our recent investments in expanding our network, and it’s exciting for us to be playing such an important role in Three UK’s journey towards a 5G future for consumers and businesses.”
Earlier this year Three contracted SSE Enterprise Telecoms to start laying infrastructure for its future 5G network, with SSE putting in fibre optic connections for Three’s 20 core data centres across the country.