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O2 and Ericsson Deal to Continue 5G Rollout Across the UK

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020 (10:17 am) - Score 2,733

Mobile operator O2 UK and telecoms technology giant Ericsson have today agreed to expand their existing relationship by deploying the firm’s latest 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) hardware, software and service upgrades across the “West” of the United Kingdom. The work will include upgrades for existing 2G, 3G and 4G sites.

O2 officially began their deployment of ultrafast 5G based mobile broadband technology in October 2019, which took place across some of the UK’s busiest cities and this has since been expanded (here). Sadly they’re currently limited to only using a single 40MHz slice of the 3.4GHz band, makes it difficult to deliver on the much hyped gigabit speeds, but further radio spectrum bands are due to be auctioned off by Ofcom later in 2020.

Ericsson have been one of O2’s key suppliers for this initial 5G deployment, not least via their Cloud Packet Core network and Cloud Unified Data Management and Policy, as well as radio systems including Baseband 6630, Radio 8823 and AIR 6488.

Naturally it won’t come as much of a surprise, particularly given the Government’s currently unstable position toward Huawei, to find that O2 are now doubling down on their partnership with Ericsson and have today extended their relationship to include deployments across more of the United Kingdom.

Brendan O’Reilly, CTO of O2, said:

“We are pleased to be moving forward with Ericsson as one of our primary vendors for our 5G rollout. Telecommunications has never been more important in keeping the country connected, and we look forward to bringing the enhanced capabilities of 5G to our customers.”

Arun Bansal, Ericsson’s President of Europe, said:

“5G will be crucial for the UK’s economic recovery and underpin its digital future. We are committed to ensuring that the UK achieves its gigabit connectivity targets so that enterprises and society at large benefit from high quality connectivity. We are delighted to be continuing our long-term partnership with O2 with this 5G network evolution.

We are proud to expand our world-class 5G coverage, leading the modernization of UK networks as a reliable partner for years to come. Together with all of our customers, we are focused on delivering more capacity and connectivity, especially as networks are more critical than ever.”

An innovation cluster will also be developed as a collaboration platform to evaluate and test future mobile architecture, technology and systems as O2 builds further towards the potential for network migration to 5G Standalone (SA) architecture.

Leave a Comment
10 Responses
  1. Avatar Michael V says:

    With all this uncertainty in what will happen with the networks of each Operator after the Huawei ban, it’s good to see that O2 is moving on & made a solid deal with Ericsson. Upgrades for all of O2’s networks!
    I’m guessing West of the UK means N. Ireland and here in Wales…

    1. Avatar Terry O'Toole says:

      “I’m guessing West of the UK means N. Ireland and here in Wales…”

      Northern Ireland, except for Belfast City Centre which is being “unwound”, is an O2 managed zone within CTIL.

  2. Avatar Sma says:

    Great! We need to stop our reliance on China for everything!

    1. Avatar Meadmodj says:

      Yes for design and control but like most tech companies Ericsson kit is made worldwide including China. They moved some production to US last year because Trump slapped a 25% import tariff on Chinese kit. Europe will probably continue to be supplied with 5G kit sourced from China.

    2. Avatar Bored Panda says:

      and nokia and ericsson get to charge more. let’s hope they remember to renew their SSL certificates then.

  3. Avatar 5G_Infinity says:

    Sadly they’re currently limited to only using a single 40MHz slice of the 3.4GHz band

    If O2 wished and supplier customers with Samsung S20 or OnePlus 8 Pro handsets then they can use any of their spectrum bands for 5G – the chip sets in the handsets support this

    1. Avatar Michael V says:

      Agreed, they can! It’s long over due that O2, EE & Vodafone’s 2G networks were Refarmed to VoLTE & maybe even now 5G.
      They should be getting all their customers moved to at least 4G phones. Also including the MVNOs that use O2’s networks.

    2. Avatar Ryan says:

      @Michael refarming 2G will be quite problematic for a number of reasons 2G is commonly used in smart meter and M2M/Iot devices.

      In the UK 2G network will most likely out last 3G it would make more sense to discontinue 3G and refarm that instead.

    3. Avatar Michael V says:

      @Ryan. Ha! Actually, I thought about that after I posted it. Vodafone also stated 3G will be decommissioned first. I forgot about IoT & M2M. Other operators will refarm 3G bands ahead of 2G in various countries.

      But yeah, shift users to LTE/VoLTE, Kill off 3G, make 2G free from IoT & M2M… Eventually. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. Avatar Mark says:

    Don’t get rid of 2G yet, that’s all we’ve got, the mast serving us can’t be upgraded because of logistical issues were told, probably no fibre in the area, distance from the town, and general objections to mast being built nearer.

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