The UK wireless operator O2 is moving its infrastructure from leased capacity to dedicated fiber, and they’re getting the fiber from Zayo. The two companies completed a 15 year deal for a managed core fiber network that will stretch from Glasgow down to Salisbury. O2 of course is Telefonica’s UK business, and has been for some 8 years.
The infrastructure will stretch from Glasgo to Salisbury across 4,500 route kilometers. Along the way it will hook up 19 connectivity points, mostly of the mobile switching center variety. O2 opened its 4G LTE network a little over a year ago, and the rising tide of mobile data is no doubt the driving force to their move deeper into fiber. The UK mobile market is extremely competitive, and O2 has slightly more than a quarter of it.
And for Zayo, this deal was made possible by their acquisition of Geo Networks back in May, which gave them a national dark fiber footprint to play with. Prior to that, their UK presence had been limited to the AboveNet London metro business. Zayo is more aggressive with its fiber assets than Geo was, and I’ll bet we start hearing about further fiber expansion plans in the country, both organic and inorganic.
Whether there are more UK fiber assets they will bolt on in the near future or not, it seems clear that Zayo’s M&A appetite in western Europe will remain strong. Their purchase of Neo over in France is clearly just a first foothold there.
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