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O2 Bring 4G Mobile Broadband to 41% of People in 191 UK Towns and Cities

Friday, April 11th, 2014 (1:10 pm) - Score 742
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Mobile operator O2 (O24G) has announced that their new 4G (LTE at 800MHz) based Mobile Broadband network can now cover 41% of the United Kingdom’s outdoor population (around 33% for indoor users) in 191 Towns and Cities, which apparently equates to about 20 million people.

The operators new 4G network, which launched last August 2013 (here), has also recently connected its one millionth customer and they expect to have upgraded 25% of their masts to support the new service by the end of 2014. As a result O2 claims that its 4G users gobbled more data in the first 6 months of operation than their entire network carried between 2000 and 2008.

In addition, an extra £16 million has also been committed to help bring data coverage to places that have never had it before. This is probably related to the fact that O2 won Ofcom’s coverage obligation lot for the 800MHz band, which obliges them to roll-out Mobile Broadband of “indoor reception” to at least 98% of the UK population (99% outdoors) by the end of 2017 (note: most are running 1-2 years ahead of that target).

Derek McManus, COO of Telefonica UK (O2), said:

Last year we launched our 4G network and undertook the fastest network roll-out in the history of our company. This year we’re continuing that roll-out and concurrently modernising our 2G and 3G networks.

Building a great network isn’t just about bringing faster speeds to people that already have coverage. It’s vital that we also bring seamless coverage to people that have never had it before. Investment in all layers of our network is key to ensuring customers receive a great experience, whether that’s in streaming live goals in the pub or receiving critical business information.

We continue to invest the equivalent of £1.5million in our network every single day to offer seamless connectivity for our customers across 2G, 3G, 4G and Wifi. and remain focused on delivering an experience that exceeds our customers’ expectations.”

At this point it’s useful to note that O2 and Vodafone have a kind of network sharing agreement in place, which allows them to “pool the basic parts of their network infrastructure” in order to create one national grid that can support two independent and competing networks. Now if only O2 could learn from EE by releasing detailed and regular roll-out updates.

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