VIRGIN MEDIA is in the running to become the UK’s second mobile operator to offer 4G mobile internet, with the company in talks with Orange and T-Mobile owner EE to use EE’s network to offer the service.
City A.M. understands Virgin Media – which already runs a “virtual” mobile network using EE infrastructure – is in early talks with EE to offer its own users 4G, potentially putting the firm ahead of other operators in the race for high-speed mobile internet.
The deal would boost Virgin’s mobile business as the company tries to get more people to sign up to its “quad-play” offerings – TV, broadband, landline and mobile. Around 15 per cent of Virgin Media users take all four services, but the company has seen mobile revenue flatline even as it has signed up more people to TV and broadband.
EE is launching a new self-branded 4G service in the coming weeks after Ofcom allowed EE to run 4G on its current network frequency. Orange and T-Mobile will not offer 4G, while O2, Vodafone and Three will have to bid for extra spectrum at the end of the year before they can run 4G services in the second half of 2013.
EE and Virgin Media did not comment on talks yesterday.