O2’s 4G network: 500 sites and counting

by Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer at Telefónica UK

655 days ago I stood excitedly next to a hospital bed waiting patiently for the arrival of my second son. At pretty much the same time, the rest of the O2 Network teams were stood, equally as nervously, in our Network Management Centre awaiting news that our first 4G sites had gone live in London.

At 9.56am, O2’s 4G network made its glorious debut in Leeds, Bradford and London.

We were up and running. Running being the operative word. It’s been our fastest network rollout ever. The last Ofcom report[1] put us second only to EE in terms of 4G coverage. In fact we’re now bringing 4G coverage to well over two thirds of the population and we’re on the way to our 2017 target of providing indoor coverage for 98% of the population by the end of 2017.

But for us, it’s never just been about 4G.

We decided at the start of the journey that we were going to totally modernise all our networks – so that everyone would continue to get a brilliant experience when making a call, sending a text or using the internet on their mobile or tablet.

We are currently upgrading our 2G and 3G networks with the latest, most advanced technology; making our masts capable of carrying more voice and data traffic and more reliable during extreme weather. For our customers this means better call quality (enhanced by the rollout of our latest HD Voice product), faster and less interrupted data sessions and less congestion at busy times.

We’ve also done a huge amount of work to modernise our core network as part of this transformation. This is the central part of our network – the central nervous system if you like! Over the past 18 months we have implemented state of the art technology and taken out single points of failure which means our network is much more resilient to faults.

Not only that but we continue to provide the strongest voice coverage of all the operators (our 2G footprint is the largest across the country) and I’m proud to say we’re about to add 4G coverage to our 500th town across the UK.

As my youngest, Sam, approaches his 2nd birthday and becomes a robust and slightly willful toddler – growing ever bigger before my eyes – my other child continues to do the same!

To find out more about our network, visit o2.co.uk/enterprise/services/connectivity


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