UK MNO Three has signed up fibre infrastructure specialist CityFibre to connect 1,300 of its mobile masts with fibre backhaul.
This would appear to put CityFibre ahead of Virgin Media to be Three UK’s backhaul best buddy. Their partnership was first announced back in February, but by May it was Virgin Media on Three’s arm when they wanted to step up their 5G efforts. It should be noted that CityFibre was always positioned as a non-London provider, and this hasn’t changed, but this latest deal was presumably still up for grabs by any provider that considered themselves capable.
“We are excited to deepen our support for Three’s ambitious 5G rollout,” said CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch. “It’s clear that the alignment of two national consumer and mobile digital infrastructure rollouts has huge benefits, not just for us, but for the cities and communities we are connecting. Working together we can deploy 5G and full fibre further and more efficiently, creating a word class digital infrastructure that allows agile and distributed applications for millions.”
“We are increasing investment across our network to meet the ever increasing demand for data by UK consumers,” said Susan Buttsworth, COO at Three UK. “Fibre backhaul is a vital part of a reliable network experience and this investment will mean better connectivity for our customers across the UK.”
It’s intriguing that CityFibre could only coax the most generic comment from Three UK for their press release, which didn’t even refer to them specifically. Presumably this is because it doesn’t want to get stuck in the middle of a chest-beating competition between its backhaul partners. If that’s the case then it will presumably find the narrative we have chosen for this piece unhelpful.