Three UK, which is set to switch on its 5G network at the end of February 2020 in 65 locations, has announced that it’ll be using CityFibre to provide its backhaul connectivity outside London.

The deal sees Three leveraging CityFibre’s fibre network for backhaul connectivity to Three’s cell sites, with the first connections going live in mid 2020 and hundreds more planned for connection in 2020 across a number of CityFibre’s Gigabit City projects.

Dave Dyson, CEO at Three UK, commented that a competitive fibre backhaul market was critical for the fast and efficient rollout of 5G. “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,” he said.

CityFibre is investing £4 billion to deploy FTTP to over 1 million premises by the end of 2021, and hopes to increase this to 8 million by the end of 2025. It also bought Fibre Nation from TalkTalk for £200 million in January to help it reach these goals. (see FibreNation deal finally passes finishing post)

While CityFibre’s dark fibre will provide Three with the capacity it needs to meet the growing demand for mobile data, Three will also gain access to CityFibre’s full product portfolio, including small cell access points throughout its city-wide networks, which will deliver the local fibre capacity needed to support 5G services in busy urban areas.

“This is a huge vote of confidence in CityFibre from a national mobile operator with big plans for 5G,” said CityFibre’s CEO Greg Mesch. “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”.

Posted by Teresa Cottam

Teresa is the Chief Analyst at Omnisperience and has over 25 years' experience in the telecoms and technology markets. She is an expert on SME and enterprise telecoms, and has considerable vertical market expertise. Her research focus lies in helping B2B telecoms firms become more commercially successful by better understanding and meeting their customers' needs. She is a judge of the GSMA Global Mobile Awards (GloMo's) for customer experience and enterprise innovation, and for the UK Cloud awards. You can follow her on Twitter @teresacottam

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