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BT and Virgin Media defy odds to continue MVNO bromance

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BT and Virgin Media will continue their bromance with a five-year extension of the MVNO agreement between the two.

While BT has been taking considerable flak from the industry over the last year or so, Virgin Media has resisted the temptation to join in the school-yard taunting. The bitchy ‘Fix Britain’s Internet’ campaign has given a new channel for the likes of stale Sky, vexatious Vodafone and tenacious Three to criticize BT’s broadband investment strategies, and in November the ‘Make the Air Fair’ campaign was launched by Three, TalkTalk and seemingly-always-complaining CityFibre, to indirectly attack the BT/EE mobile business.

Throughout the barrage of mudslinging, the Virgin Media business has seemingly been able to keep its hands clean and avoid getting involved in the petulant playground name-calling.

Under the new deal, EE will provide wholesale mobile network services to Virgin Media covering voice and data services. The agreement replaces an existing MVNO wholesale agreement between the two companies and extends its exclusivity to 2021. Virgin Media’s MVNO proposition has been in operation since 1999, and currently has in the region of 3 million subscribers making it one of the largest MVNO’s in the UK.

“This winning combination with EE will give Virgin Mobile even more control and firepower to deliver innovative services to the UK mobile market,” said Peter Kelly, MD of Virgin Mobile. “Virgin Mobile customers want fast speeds, flexibility and plans packed full of data – we’re going to continue to deliver.”

“This has proven a successful relationship for both parties for many years and, as we enter a period of further technological change in the mobile market, we are very pleased to renew and extend our 17-year-old relationship,” said Gerry McQuade, CEO of Wholesale and Ventures business unit in BT Group. “As the largest wholesale provider of telecommunications services in Europe, BT values the economy of scale that Virgin Media brings to our network.”

While the rest of the industry may not be able to make friends with Gavin Hasslehoff Patterson and his horde of BT buddies, it looks like the Virgin Media bromance isn’t going anywhere.


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