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Mobile Operator O2 UK Confirms First 5G Test Bed Set for London

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018 (4:19 pm) - Score 1,231

Mobile network operator O2 UK (Telefonica) has today announced that they too are planning to conduct a test of future 5G ultrafast Mobile Broadband technology, which will take place at The O2 venue in North Greenwich later this year.

Apparently installation of the new network test bed will begin in March 2018 and “visitors [will be] able to enjoy the technology from the second half of 2018,” which suggests that it won’t be an end-user focused connectivity solution because ordinary consumers won’t have access to commercial grade 5G kit for awhile (commercial rollout isn’t even due to begin until 2020 in the UK).

Instead O2 appear to be planning a number of demonstrations to showcase the new technology (e.g. virtual reality, augmented reality and live streaming), which will be available inside the exclusive O2 blueroom and the O2 store at the venue.

Mark Evans, CEO of O2, said:

“The arrival of 5G technology, and the range of unprecedented benefits it will bring, will play a key role in keeping our society and the British economy moving for years to come. That’s why we are delighted to announce our plans to launch a 5G test bed at The O2 later this year. At O2, we are obsessive about always delivering for our customers, and this test bed is a further example of our pioneering attitude to putting our customers first and and backing the importance of mobile for Britain’s future.”

The test bed itself will be delivered using Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) and is configured for virtualisation of core 5G network technologies. In time, O2 will use the network to test a variety of equipment and potential use cases for 5G under live conditions, while gathering feedback from customers and partners.

The installation at The O2 will also be the first in a number of planned trials across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland that will look at uses for 5G for consumers, businesses and the public sector. Rivals EE and Vodafone have also been testing 5G solutions (here and here).

Leave a Comment
2 Responses
  1. Avatar Guy Cashmore says:

    So they are to begin testing 5G, yet here in Devon our local O2 cell sites are still 2G only, they haven’t even given us 3G, unbelievable.

    1. Avatar Mike says:

      I think O2 originally bet on Three gobbling them up to solve that problem :/

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