T-Mobile and 3 buy BT backhaul

T-Mobile and 3 UK have signed a five-year deal for BT to provide high-speed backhaul connections to 7,500 basestations on their shared 3G infrastructure.

T-Mobile and 3 formed a joint venture, Mobile Broadband Network Ltd (MBNL), in January to share their infrastructure, cutting costs and improving coverage. The shared infrastructure will use BT's latest Ethernet service, which runs over its 21CN network, for access and backhaul.

Emin Gurdenli, technology director at T-Mobile UK, said: "We are now moving ahead with the 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 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 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 cutting costs over the life of the contract.

Graham Baxter, chief technology officer at 3 UK, said: "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: "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.

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