Mobile Broadband Network, the UK network-sharing joint-venture between mobile operators T-Mobile UK and 3 UK, has signed a five-year outsourcing deal with BT for backhaul services, reports the Financial Times (FT). The deal, believed to be worth several hundred million pounds, is designed to give the operators the required backhaul capacity in order to support high-bandwidth mobile data services without requiring them to invest in their own infrastructure. “This agreement with BT will make sure backhaul [the backbone connections of the network] is not a constraint now or in the future at a time when T-Mobile is experiencing strong growth in mobile broadband and other mobile data services,” Emin Gurdenli, technology director at T-Mobile UK, told the FT. The deal means that Orange is the only UK operator not to have a backhaul deal with the UK incumbent fixed-line operator. Vodafone UK signed a similar deal with BT in May.

The report notes that the deal is also an important fillip for BT’s Wholesale division, which is under increasing pressure from new entrants to the UK fixed-line market such as Carphone Warehouse. “BT now supports the base station connectivity requirements of four of the five mobile players in the UK market, bringing our economies of scale to a hugely important element of the communications marketplace,” said Brian Fitzpatrick, managing director of BT Wholesale Markets. It was separately reported today that T-Mobile UK plans to decommission 5,000 base stations as a result of its network sharing deal with 3.