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O2 Spends £32m to Boost 4G Capacity at 400 UK Tourist Hotspots

Friday, July 19th, 2019 (9:47 am) - Score 2,126

Mobile operator O2 has invested £32 million to upgrade their existing 4G network capacity at just under 400 UK tourist hotspots for the summer holidays. Some of the locations to benefit from this include the Abbey Road crossing, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace and the Angel of the North.

British holidays should be about trips to the seaside, long walks and exploration“, says O2’s COO Derek McManus. “We’ve upgraded our network where people need it the most this summer, to ensure British holidaymakers will be able to share their summer with holiday selfies, use Google Maps to navigate the best hiking spots, and compare local restaurant reviews.

Unfortunately O2 don’t say exactly what sort of upgrades they’ve made and how, although we assume that one of the main areas they’d need to tackle would be backhaul capacity for their existing masts and small cells. Such things are essential since holidaymakers tend to make much more use of Mobile Broadband connectivity when sharing their pictures and videos etc.

At present 4G is currently available to O2 customers in almost 19,000 towns, cities and villages across the UK. Indoor population coverage remains around 99% but the operator is somewhat more coy about mentioning their geographic network coverage (Ofcom’s data suggests they’re still a bit south of 80%). Now for the BIG list..

O2 has connected the following 99 tourism hotspots to 4G throughout the UK over the last 12 months, including:

  • Aberdeenshire: Crathes Castle, Dunnottar Castle, Go Ape Crathes Castle, Balmedie
  • Bournemouth: Hengistbury Head
  • Cambridgeshire: Anglesey Abbey and Gardens, Houghton Mill, Isleham Priory Church
  • Ceredigion: Borth, Borth Lifeboat Station
  • Coleraine: Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House, Hezlett House
  • Cornwall and Isles of Scilly: Polzeath, Portreath, Gwithian, Porthkidney, Crooklets, Godrevy, Boscastle, Looe Lifeboat Station, Kingsand, Riviere Sands Holiday Village, Ballowall Barrow, King Doniert’s Stone
  • Cumbria: Allan Bank, Wray Castle, Rydal Mount & Gardens, Wetheral Priory Gatehouse, Wray Castle, Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway – Haverthwaite Station
  • Devon: Budleigh Salterton, Maidencombe
  • Dorset: Christchurch Highcliffe Castle, Christchurch Avon Beach, Kingston Russell Stone Circle, Winterbourne Poor Lot Barrows
  • Dumfries and Galloway: Annandale Distillery
  • East Sussex: Alfriston Clergy House, Bewl Water
  • Essex: Hatfield Forest, Museum of Power Langford, Holland-on-sea beach
  • Fife: Kingsbarns Distillery, Darnley’s Gin Distillery
  • Gloucestershire: Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – Toddington Station, North Gloucestershire Railway, Toddington, Toddington Narrow Gauge Railway
  • Gwynedd: Porth Neigwl, Aberdovey Lifeboat Station, The Slate Caverns – Blaenau Ffestiniog, Talyllyn Railway – Brynglas Station, Talyllyn Railway – Rhydyronen Station
  • Hampshire: Hayling Island Lifeboat Station, Museum of Army Flying
  • Herefordshire: Wigmore Castle, Old Gorhambury House
  • Highlands: Talisker Distillery, Glen Ord Distillery, Loch Ness Lifeboat Station, Lochinver Lifeboat Station, Eilean Donan Castle, Dunvegan Castle, Dornoch
  • Isle of Anglesey: Trearddur Bay, Trearddur Bay Lifeboat Station
  • Isle of Wight: Gurnard, Ryde
  • Kent: South Foreland Lighthouse, St. John’s Jerusalem, Broadstairs, Viking Bay, St Leonard’s Tower
  • Kirklees: Marsden Moor Estate
  • Lincolnshire: Monksthorpe Chapel, Lincolnshire Showground, Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, North Ings Farm Railway
  • Milton Keynes: Woburn Sands railway station
  • Na H-Eileanan an Iar: Luskentyre beach
  • Norfolk: St George’s Distillery, Heacham, Castle Rising Castle, Weeting Castle, North Norfolk Railway – Holt Station,
  • Northamptonshire: Eleanor Cross, Geddington
  • Powys: Powis Castle and Garden
  • Redcar and Cleveland: Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum
  • Shetland Islands: Jarlshof Prehistoric and Nordic Settlement, Sumburgh Head Lighthouse
  • Somerset: Bossington, Coleridge Cottage, Porlock Weir
  • South Ayrshire: Girvan Lifeboat station
  • Stirling: Ben Lawers National Nature Reserve
  • Suffolk: Flatford Bridge Cottage, Pin Mill, Thorington Hall, Gunton Hall Holiday Village, Lindsey St James’s Chapel
  • West Sussex: West Wittering beach

O2 has delivered a 4G boost to 299 tourism hotspots throughout the UK over the last 12 months, including:

  • Aberdeen: Aberdeen Lifeboat Station
  • Bath and North East Somerset: Bath Assembly Rooms, Roman Baths and Pump Room, The Roman Baths
  • Bedfordshire: Leighton Buzzard Light Railway
  • Belfast: Belmont Tower, The Crown Bar, Titanic Belfast, Ulster Museum
  • Birmingham: O2 Academy Birmingham, O2 Institute Birmingham, Arena Birmingham, Birmingham Back to Backs, The Birmingham Sea Life Centre, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham Science Museum, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter
  • Blackpool: Blackpool Pleasure Beach
  • Bradford: National Science and Media Museum, Cartwright Hall, Keighley & Worth Valley Railway – Ingrow
  • Brighton and Hove: Brighton Lifeboat Station, The Royal Pavilion Brighton, SEA LIFE Brighton, Brighton Kemptown
  • Bristol City: Bristol Zoo, Bristol Harbour Railway
  • Buckinghamshire: Huntercombe Manor
  • Bury: East Lancashire Railway, East Lancashire Railway – Transport Museum
  • Cambridgeshire: Hardwick Hall and Estate, Cambridge University Botanic Garden, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, The Polar Museum, Whipple Museum of the History of Science
  • Cardiff: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, National Museum Cardiff, Cardiff Castle
  • Cheshire: Chester Roman Amphitheatre, Crewe Heritage Centre
  • Cornwall and Isles of Scilly: Truro Cathedral
  • Coventry: Coventry Cathedral
  • Cumbria: Carlisle Castle
  • Derby: Derby Arboretum
  • Devon: Exeter Cathedral
  • Edinburgh City: Malleny Garden, No 28 Charlotte Square, Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Edinburgh Dungeon, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, The Royal Yacht Britannia, Scottish National Gallery, National War Museum, Edinburgh, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern One), Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Modern Two), Mary King’s Close
  • Essex: St Botolph’s Priory
  • Gateshead: The Angel of the North, The Sage Gateshead Tynne and Wear
  • Glasgow City: Glasgow Cathedral, O2 ABC Glasgow, O2 Academy Glasgow, King Tuts Wah Wah Hut Glasgow, Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, The SSE Hydro, Hutchesons’ Hall, The Tenement House, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Riverside Museum, The National Piping Centre and the Bagpipe Museum, Glasgow School of Art, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Riverside Museum, The St Mungo Museum of Religious Life And Art, Provand’s Lordship, Glasgow Museum of Transport, Kibble Palace and Glasgow Botanic Gardens
  • Greater London Authority: St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, Sipsmith Distillery, Horniman Museums and Gardens, The O2 Arena, O2 Academy Brixton, O2 Academy Islington, O2 Academy Kentish Town, O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, Southbank Centre, Ronnie Scotts, Wembley SSE Arena, The Royal Opera House, Camden Roundhouse, 575 Wandsworth Road, Carlyle’s House, Eastbury Manor House, Fenton House and Garden, George Inn, King’s Head, Lawrence House, Lindsey House, Priory Cottages, Sutton House, Teddington Lifeboat Station, Tower Lifeboat Station, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Clarence House, St James’s Palace, Trafalgar Square, Shreks Adventure London, Madame Tussauds London, Imperial War Museum Lambeth, Natural History Museum, The British Museum, The Tate Modern, The London Eye, National Gallery London, Wallace Collection, The Courtauld Gallery, ZSL London Zoo, Tower Bridge Exhibition, HMS Belfast, The Monument, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, The Cutty Sark, Churchill War Rooms, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, London Transport Museum, Camden Market, Portobello Road, Shreks Adventure, Museum of London, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, The Shard, Palace Of Westminster, Westminster Abbey And St. Margaret’s Church, Tower Of London, Go Ape Battersea Park, Somerset House, National Portrait Gallery, Westminster Abbey, The British Library, Old Royal Naval College, Royal Academy of Arts, Houses of Parliament, V&A Museum of Childhood, Museum of London (Docklands), WWT London, Guildhall Art Gallery, RAF Bomber Command Memorial London, Abbey Road crossing, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, The Gherkin, Camden Lock, Apsley House, Coombe Conduit, Jewel Tower, London Wall, Wellington Arch, Winchester Palace, London Transport Museum, Fulham Palace, Coram’s Fields With Mecklenburgh And Brunswick Squares, Russell Square, Strawberry Hill, Bedford Square, Gray’s Inn, Grove House, Berkeley Square, The Grosvenor Estate: Belgrave Square, Hampton Court Palace, Cadogan Place,100, Cheyne Walk (Part Of Lindsey House), Clissold Park, The Grosvenor Estate: Eaton Square, Eccleston Square, Edwardes Square, Green Park, Hans Place, Hyde Park, Lambeth Palace, Portman Square And Manchester Square, Myatt’s Fields, Norwood Grove, The Rookery, St George’s Gardens, St Michael’s Convent (Formerly Park Hill), St Peter’s Square, Southwark Park, Inner Temple, Victoria Embankment Gardens, Victoria Tower Gardens, Warwick Square, Wimbledon Park, Finsbury Circus, Arnold Circus Bethnal Green, South Park Gardens, The Roof Garden, 99 High St, Kensington, Middle Temple, Springfield Hospital, The Grosvenor Estate: Chester Square, The Grosvenor Estate: Wilton Crescent
  • Hertfordshire: Harry Potter World, Morven Park, St Albans Cathedral
  • Kent: Gravesend Lifeboat Station, Milton Chantry, Mote Park
  • Kingston-upon-Hull City: Maister House
  • Leeds: O2 Academy Leeds, First Direct Arena, Leeds Industrial Museum, Middleton Railway Hunslet
  • Leicester: O2 Academy Leicester, National Space Centre, Jewry Wall, New Walk Leicester
  • Liverpool: International Slavery Museum, Tate Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, The Beatles Story Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum, Museum of Liverpool, World Museum Liverpool, Piermaster’s House, Sudley House, Liverpool Catholic Cathedral, Arts Club Liverpool, O2 Academy Liverpool, Liverpool Echo Arena, The Beatles’ Childhood Homes, 20 Forthlin Road Liverpool, The Hardman’s House
  • Manchester: City of Manchester Distillery, O2 Ritz Manchester, Manchester Arena, Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), Albert Square Manchester
  • Newcastle Upon Tyne: O2 Academy Newcastle, Metro Radio Arena, Denton Hall Turret
  • Norfolk: Elizabethan House Museum, Great Yarmouth Row Houses and Greyfriars’ Cloisters
  • North Lincolnshire: Appleby Frodingham Railway, Scunthorpe
  • North Somerset: Portishead Lifeboat Station, Weston-super-Mare RNLI
  • North Yorkshire: Great Yorkshire Showground, North Yorkshire Moors Railway Whitby
  • Nottingham: Old Market Square, Nottingham Castle, Nottingham Arboretum
  • Nottinghamshire: Arnside and Silverdale
  • Oxfordshire: O2 Academy Oxford, Bodleian Library, Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Pitt Rivers Museum, Museum of the History of Science
  • Peterborough: Peterborough Cathedral, East of England Showground, Longthorpe Tower, Nene Valley Railway – Ferry Meadows, Nene Valley Railway – Peterborough, Nene Valley Station, Railworld
  • Plymouth: Royal Citadel
  • Rochdale: East Lancashire Railway, Heywood Station
  • Sheffield: O2 Academy Sheffield, Motorpoint Arena Sheffield
  • Solihull: Genting Arena
  • Southend-on-Sea: Three Shells, Southend Lifeboat Station, Adventure Island, Thorpe Bay
  • Sunderland: Hylton Castle, Bowes Railway Tyne and Wear
  • Torbay: Paignton & Dartmouth Steam Railway – Goodrington Station
  • Trafford: Altrincham railway station, Urmston railway station, Chassen Road railway station, SEA LIFE Manchester, IWM North, Old Trafford, Walton Park Miniature Railway
  • West Sussex: Worthing beach
  • Windsor and Maidenhead: LEGOLAND Windsor, Eton College, station
  • Wirral: New Brighton Lifeboat Station, Lady Lever Art Gallery
  • Worcestershire: Greyfriars House and Garden, Severn Valley Railway – Kidderminster Station

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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9 Responses
  1. Chris says:

    Some surprisingly rural locations on that list.
    I would assume the deployment to the urban areas may have been up to 40mhz 2300mhz, possibly some refarmed 2100mhz, but I wonder what they’re rolling out on Harris?

  2. James says:

    Glad to hear O2 have actually been improving things, but sad to hear areas where I use it most have not been improved. In busy towns get under 1Mbps with full 4G signal outside. Would love to know more about there rollout of the 2300MHz spectrum they bought last year to more locations.

    1. Tux says:

      O2 direct MVNO?

    2. James says:

      O2 direct

    3. Symon Ball says:

      I’m binning my Sky mobile account as is my daughter as it’s piggy backed off O2 in favour of a more stable provider, we’ve had nothing but very poor data and call reception, I visited the Apple shop in Southampton West Quay they saw the poor performance of my O2 SIM card with barely 2 mb data speed , swapped it for an EE SIM …. suddenly I got 30mb down & up I’ve visited Southampton Bournemouth Salisbury and all over the south to find very poor O2 Coverge, simply not good enough in this day and age ….. vote with toy wallet and move to a better more stable provider

  3. Mr Keith Bagley says:

    I am customer through sky it seems you have not said anything about St Austell the postcode PL25 4jj which very poor this should be sorted out before holiday makers get any improvement

    Thank you
    Mr k Bagley

  4. SimonM says:

    This is exactly the sort of thing mobile operators should do. Lost count of the number of times I’ve been somewhere for the day to find there’s no or very poor mobile signal, or if it’s “ok” normally it becomes so slow and unusable due to the numbers of people attending an event.

    I know sometimes operators provide short term (weekend/week) cell towers for specific events, and at a couple of places I’ve received a location based text from the operator saying “welcome to ___, we’ve improved the network this weekend by installing temporary masts to improve your visit” or similar, but this seems longer term and I definitely support that move.

    It’s just a shame the mobile networks don’t seem to realise their great coverage which the maps often show as being fine, actually aren’t the case all year round for people who live in/near these places all of the time. It’s just when they get the moans from people about it being bad, and the amount of moans increase during the tourist seasons, and no doubt complaints from the tourist locations themselves, that they slowly start to realise something has to be done – especially if other operators (already) have decent signal in those same place!

  5. Guy Cashmore says:

    Devon, one of the largest counties geographically and one of the most popular holiday destinations sees only 3 improvements in total, what a joke. We didn’t even get 3G until early 2019 in my part of Devon, although admittedly the 2G coverage is/was good.

  6. Mark says:

    Not much for much the Cotswolds, about time they upgraded their 2G only areas, seem to be getting left behind, something has to be done to enable network roll-out, not being stopped by nimvy objections, I live in a town with a larger population than Stow on the wold, Lechlade, Fairford etc. And we have nothing.

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