Ericsson and Virgin Media O2 extend partnership in boost to UK’s 5G connectivity

  • New commercial agreement will see Ericsson’s industry-leading 4G and 5G radio access network (RAN) technology deployed across the Virgin Media O2 network in the UK
  • Substantial network modernisation to include hardware, software and service enhancements as part of a program to improve Virgin Media O2 customers’ 4G and 5G connectivity, while reducing network energy consumption and accelerating network upgrades

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Virgin Media O2 will be bringing greater 4G and 5G coverage and capacity to major cities and towns across the UK as part of a renewed network partnership agreement.

The two companies have agreed a new multi-million GBP contract to deploy the latest products and solutions from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Additional service upgrades and small cell solutions are included as part of the network modernisation which will see Virgin Media O2 customers in major UK cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast benefit from enhanced mobile capacity, improved coverage, faster speeds and better 4G and 5G experiences.

The latest generation of Ericsson quad-technology baseband, multiband and industry-leading 5G Massive MIMO radio AIR 3258 will be deployed across the network, bringing not only enhanced 5G performance to users but also increased energy efficiency of the network. A reduction of up to 30 percent in energy use is anticipated in comparison to the previous generation of radio, while a 40 percent reduction in weight and volume will minimise impact on site infrastructure and help accelerate network deployment.

As part of the agreement Virgin Media O2 could also become one of the first Communications Service Providers (CSPs) in Europe to trial Ericsson’s Cloud RAN solution, offering a seamless evolution to cloud-native technologies and open network architecture.

Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “This multi-million pound investment in our network will mean our customers can benefit from more reliable and faster services at the same time as reducing overall carbon emissions. Building on our long-standing relationship with Ericsson allows us to deliver improvements quickly and efficiently, helping us move rapidly towards the future-proof networks our customers expect.”

Katherine Ainley, CEO, Ericsson UK and Ireland, says: “Ericsson is at the forefront of high-performance and energy-efficient 5G networks and this new agreement is another important milestone on our journey together with Virgin Media O2 to bring the very best in next generation connectivity to key locations across the UK.

“As end-to-end partner on both Radio and Core we are building a network of the future that will not only offer superior connectivity for Virgin Media O2 customers but also deliver an innovation platform that can help to transform new industries and pave the way to a more connected digital society.”

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