Three has selected CityFibre to provide backhaul services for its 5G mobile sites outside London as it continues its next generation network rollout across the country.
Last week, Three became the fourth and final operator to launch mobile 5G services, with 65 locations set to go live before the end of February. This partnership with CityFibre will see hundreds more sites connected via full fibre, starting this summer.
This is the first time a major operator has partnered with CityFibre for backhaul adding legitimacy to the company’s claim to be the UK’s “third national digital infrastructure platform” behind Openreach and Virgin Media’s cable network.
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CityFibre has expanded significantly in recent years, building wholesale networks in major cities and acquiring KCOM’s nationwide infrastructure outside Hull and East Yorkshire. It was the subject of a takeover in 2018 and earlier this year, it bought TalkTalk’s FibreNation unit for £200 million.
“This is a huge vote of confidence in CityFibre from a national mobile operator with big plans for 5G,” said Greg Mesch, CityFibre CEO. “Three’s decision to leverage our rapidly expanding networks nationwide shows the critical role full fibre infrastructure has to underpin 5G rollouts and reinforces CityFibre’s position as the UK’s third national digital infrastructure platform.
“Our networks have been designed to support both the technology and insatiable demand for data throughput required to power 5G networks and services. This deal will not only help accelerate 5G coverage throughout the UK, but also further accelerate our rollout of full fibre coverage nationwide.”
“A competitive fibre backhaul market is critical for the fast and efficient rollout of 5G,” added Dave Dyson, Three CEO. “CityFibre are aggressively rolling out fibre across Britain and our strategic partnership with them will use the UK’s largest 5G spectrum portfolio to deliver the fastest 5G network nationwide.”
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Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.