BT-owned EE is to continue powering Virgin Media’s mobile phone service after the two broadband and pay-TV rivals signed a new five year deal.
The deal, which was first reported on Friday by the Telegraph, was confirmed by both firms on Monday morning.
Virgin has had a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) agreement with EE and its predecessors for the past 17 years but there had been speculation that BT’s purchase of the network could end that partnership.
During the competition regulator’s assessment of the buy-out Virgin had raised concerns about the deal’s impact on the marketplace and has since accused BT of giving EE access to its BT Sports channels on better terms than Virgin Media enjoys.
Virgin had been known to be in talks with Three about possibly moving its mobile service to that network but ultimately opted to renew its deal with EE.
The “full MVNO” agreement confirmed today is expected to see Virgin Media take on more responsibility for the issuing of SIMs, customer service and billing and will run until 2021.
Peter Kelly, Managing Director of Virgin Mobile, said: “This winning combination with EE will give Virgin Mobile even more control and firepower to deliver innovative services to the UK mobile market.
“Virgin Mobile customers want fast speeds, flexibility and plans packed full of data – we’re going to continue to deliver.”
Gerry McQuade, CEO of Wholesale and Ventures, BT, added: “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.
“As the largest wholesale provider of telecommunications services in Europe, BT values the economy of scale that Virgin Media brings to our network.”