O2 is marking the expansion of its network to customers in over 100 UK towns and cities, with rollout continuing ahead of schedule and with several new locations now live, including Milton Keynes, Ipswich, Chelmsford.
A year on from its 5G launch, O2 has continued to roll out the technology at pace with partners Nokia and Ericsson allowing customers take advantage of the high speed network in 108 UK towns and cities.
O2 currently offers 28 5G-enabled devices, including the brand-new Apple iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro which is available for pre-order and launches tomorrow, Friday 23rd October. The iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini will be available from next month.
O2’s 5G network has no premium, and its industry-leading Custom Plans allow existing customers on a Refresh tariff to move onto 5G at any time they choose. O2’s ‘Limitless’ tariff, offers consumers unlimited data browsing, as well as its existing custom plans.
Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer at O2 said: “When we launched 5G last October, we said it was the first step on a journey. One year on and we have made some incredible progress, not just in terms of our roll-out but in bringing about new capabilities that will make real changes to people’s everyday lives.
“No one could have predicted the way this year has turned out, and that almost overnight, customers would turn to their networks more than ever before to keep them connected to loved ones, colleagues and suppliers. Connectivity has never been more important, and we want our network to continue to raise the bar.
“We firmly believe 5G has a role in helping to rebuild Britain, unlocking huge possibilities for our economy and society. We’re excited to keep pushing ahead with our rollout along with our partners Ericson and Nokia, to keep supporting our customers, businesses and society.”
Unlocking 5G’s potential with businesses
Alongside the consumer rollout, over the last year O2 has continued to work with businesses and consortia to test and build 5G use cases to enhance the way we work and live and help rebuild Britain:
In partnership with Northumbrian Water Group, O2 5G has enabled experienced technicians to remotely guide on-the-ground teams through complex tasks by relaying real-time data and instructions using augmented reality (AR) technology, creating ‘Remote Experts’
O2 launched the first commercial laboratory for 5G and satellite communications in the UK as part of Project Darwin, a four-year trial programme supported by O2 and the European Space Agency and based in the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire. The laboratory is now open to companies looking to test proofs of concept for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) using both 5G and satellite communications.
In another initiative as part of Project Darwin, in collaboration with the University of Glasgow and European Space Agency, O2 has been working with the NHS to deliver a pilot trial of a fully connected 5G powered clinic-on-wheels, in order to track COVID-19 at six care homes in Glasgow.
Beyond this, O2 is working with Deloitte, Wayra and Digital Catapult to build 5G accelerators in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Coventry. These facilities will comprise of centrally located office and demonstration spaces with access to a private 5G network allowing businesses and public sector organisations to experiment with 5G features that aren’t yet commercially released.
Investing in technologies for the future
O2 has continued to invest in new technologies to support its growing network. Approximately 10,000 LTE-M sites are now live across the country, allowing customers and businesses to make the most of next-generation IoT technologies in their day to day lives. The new network will cover 57% of premises and 58% of the population and will allow billions of devices to be connected to the internet to collect and share data.
Meeting the demand for the network
The need for 5G has never been so great, with demand for network capacity and reliability increasing throughout lockdown.
Since the beginning of nationwide restrictions in March, O2 has doubled the capacity of its voice network to meet unprecedented demand, with voice traffic increasing by 57% the day the UK went into lockdown. The company has also boosted 4G services in over 91,000 postcodes as demand for connectivity continues to increase, with data consumption across a number of cities jumping up to 50% compared to the same time last year. Over 9,500 visits from O2 field engineers have kept local sites across the country online and over 12,000 sites have been boosted with additional capacity as O2 works tirelessly to keep the UK connected.
As well as ensuring people are able to stay in touch with family and friends wherever they are, from villages to town centres, 4G and 5G connectivity preserved £205 billion of business for the UK during the period of March to September by enabling many of the UK’s workers to work flexibly and remain productive at home. This is according to research from O2 in partnership with Development Economics.
As the UK’s No 1 mobile network, representing millions of people across the UK, O2 remains committed to its role in rebuilding Britain, and will maintain its investment of around £2million a day in its 4G network whilst pushing ahead with its ongoing rollout of superfast 5G connectivity.