UK MVNO Virgin Mobile signed an upgraded deal with existing host network supplier BT, which Virgin Mobile said would increase the level of control of its services.

The MVNO, owned by multi-national media firm Liberty Global, previously had a wholesale agreement in place with EE – which was acquired by BT in January 2016 – and utilised network infrastructure from EE’s previous brands since its launch in 1999.

In an announcement, the companies said the new “full MVNO” agreement extends the current wholesale partnership until 2021 and gives Virgin Mobile greater control over its services, including increased flexibility to develop new product lines for customers.

According to an article in The Telegraph published prior to today’s announcement, BT narrowly fought off competition from CK Hutchison-owned network provider Three UK to secure the updated contract.

BT’s CEO of wholesale and ventures, Gerry McQuade, said: “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.”

Virgin Mobile MD Peter Kelly (pictured) added the agreement would “give Virgin Mobile even more control and firepower to deliver innovative services to the UK mobile market”.

The MVNO currently has 3 million mobile customers and sells services alongside the wider Virgin Media portfolio, including broadband and digital television services.