CityFibre, the UK-listed fibre telecoms group, will step up its challenge to BT with a deal to provide connections to mobile masts owned by two of the UK’s network operators.

The company will on Thursday announce a long-term national agreement with EE and Three UK, the largest and smallest UK operators respectively, which will provide so-called “backhaul connections” to masts.

The deal will improve network performance capabilities, CityFibre said, as well as offering cost efficiency. It marks the expansion of “critically needed diversity” for the mobile operators’ network services, which are often provided by BT using its national telecoms infrastructure, the company said.

CityFibre has already agreed to work with Sky and TalkTalk to provide high speed fibre networks in certain British cities, starting with York.

Operators need superfast fibre connections to their masts to meet growing bandwidth requirements as more people use their phones to watch data-hungry video and listen to music on the move.

Bryn Jones, chief technology officer at Three said: “The ability to add our own high capacity infrastructure will be hugely important for our network, particularly in busy metropolitan areas.”

EE and Three share infrastructure though their joint venture, Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL).

The first project is already under way in Kingston-upon-Hull, where CityFibre will provide EE and Three with the ability to deploy high-speed access to their masts.

CityFibre, EE, Three UK and MBNL are already examining how this could be rolled out to further towns and cities in the UK under the national framework agreement.

Greg Mesch, chief executive Officer, CityFibre said EE and Three carry about 75 per cent of the data used by UK mobile users between them.

“Mobile operators are among the largest providers of connectivity services for data hungry UK consumers.”

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