Virgin targets to rollout nationwide network

Virgin Media has dropped its scheme to bid for the 4G spectrum in order to focus to develop a small cell network and nationwide Wi-Fi which it targets to wholesale to the other operators.

Jamie Heywood who is the Virgin Media director of mobile while speaking to Mobile said that the firm is planning to extend Wi-Fi and small cell network in the main city centres of the UK after the successful introduction of their Wi-Fi service across 70 underground stations of London in the last summer as well as a separate test on small cell in the Oxford Street of London in the beginning of this year. He also said that they are seeking means to extend their networks to regions further the London underground for both outside and inside the household.

Heywood told that the small cell network that will carry the next generation 4G services which suits particularly the urban areas where the data usage levels are very high. He also included that the MVNO is talking with other major cities of the UK about their Wi-Fi and 4G ambitions.

Access to the Wi-Fi services of Virgin Media in the Tube underground stations is presently available only for the customers of Virgin Media but he said that the firm is looking to reduce the wholesale contracts with the other operators while they develop the network outside. He disclosed that Virgin will try to sell the access to their small cell networks to other operators willing to enhance their 4G service in the urban regions.

Heywood said that the important decision for not bidding for the 4G spectrum is notably prompted by their host EE network that won the approval to rollout the new 4G service in the previous month. He further added that they do not find any advantage for them to bid for the 4G spectrum.

Virgin media schemes to rollout their Wi-Fi services to around 120 Tube stations by this year by opening the service up to other networks. He told that extend was an amazing success with the Virgin consumers accessing its service over the eight million sessions during the Olympic game period. He also added that the best chance they have is to drive big boost in traffic across their network. It benefited their consumers with faster internet speed as well as it benefits them by saving more on payments to their host network operator.

Analysts told that the plans of Virgin Media to utilize its small cell and Wi-Fi network to provide wholesale contract chimed with the increasing demand from the operators for more coverage in the cities. John Delaney who is the analyst of IDC telecoms said that there is a good chance for Virgin to deliver its small cell and Wi-Fi network on the basis of unified wholesale to the other operators who wish to extend the networks to deliver additional coverage for high demand in the urban regions.

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