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Virgin Media O2 Boosts UK 5G Rollout with VMware Technology

Monday, March 28th, 2022 (9:52 am) - Score 8,112
Virgin Media O2 UK Mobile Upgrade Holiday Picture

Mobile operator O2 (VMO2) has today announced that they’ve chosen cloud-provider VMware to help modernise their network and enable the continued progress of its 5G (mobile broadband) rollout across the United Kingdom. This builds on an existing collaboration, which has underpinned the deployment for the past 16 months.

The deal will see VMO2 adopt VMware’s Telco Cloud Infrastructure to help design, build, test and implement virtualised network functions. The goal is to deliver new services, boost mobile broadband speeds, further improve network reliability and to also simplify its network.

The operator said they would also adopt the company’s Tanzu for Telco’s Kubernetes cluster capabilities to build Containers as a Service (CaaS) proficiency (i.e. container-based virtualization), which they said would expand the network’s cloud-based ability to support multi-vendor solutions.

Sanjay Uppal, Senior VP and GM of Service Provider & Edge at VMware, said:

“As the rollout of 5G networks comes close to completion, service providers need to be able to modernise their network infrastructure quickly, simply, and economically. The best way to do this is through a single platform that can automate and streamline delivery of multi-vendor network functions.

Through its work with VMware, Virgin Media O2 is able to deploy a network infrastructure that enables the successful roll out of its 5G services without limitations, by harnessing the agility, flexibility, and consistency of a common platform.”

Chris Buggie, Director of VMO2’s Infrastructure & Cloud Engineering & Delivery, added that virtualising and modernising their network is seen as “essential if we are to cement our position as the leading telco provider across UK and EU,” although a number of other operators might well claim to be the “leading telco” in the UK.

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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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18 Responses
  1. El Guapo says:

    Anecdotal, but i’ve found their 5G to be extremely poor. Slow and few places with 5G. I have tried all the networks and found O2 to be the worst. Even in Central London there are few places with O2 5G.

    1. ELL says:

      I’ve used Vodafone and they’re even worsen then O2 in the London area, indeed their coverage is the worse nationwide.

      Vodafone on 5G is like Three on 4G 2 years ago, awful.

      Three seems to be the best with 5G where it’s available, O2 is 2nd place I’ve found so far.

      No idea on EE as 5G is only available to Pay Monthly users.

      No issues with O2 5G here as it’s fast and reliable.

    2. Sonic says:

      Vodafone’s 5G network is very good in Southampton.

      https://www.speedtest.net/my-result/i/4601228826

      Sky (O2) – nowhere near as good.

      https://www.speedtest.net/my-result/i/4785261460

  2. Unhappy O2 customer says:

    With O2 you cannot send an iMessage between 4pm-5pm Monday-Friday during school terms.

    Maybe O2 should focus on fixing this first.

    If the O2 planning team are in any way connected to VM’s Project Lightning planners their 5G will end up like a patchwork quilt just like their broadband network is.

    Miss a postcode area here, miss a postcode there and claim FULL blanket coverage. Meh.

  3. Sonic says:

    Maybe they could improve coverage, signal strength and capacity on their useless 4G network for starters. It’s next to pointless where I live (Winchester, Hampshire).

    1. Sam Perry says:

      Yup I moved back to EE because it was so awful on 4G O2

  4. Mike says:

    O2 has always been consistent…ly awful.

  5. Phil says:

    EE and Three 5G are better overall

  6. JP says:

    Dependant on location I guess, but I’ve seen a considerable investment being made in there network in the Midlands, however I note these are areas where Vodafone is the cornerstone host.

    Seeing them rollout there new Orion poles mostly and many planning application/notifications have been approved/submitted to upgrade existing sites they share with Vodafone as part of the Beacon 3 (UNWIND) program.

    Will agree there network leaves something to be desired but as for moving forward and improving, I have seen this in recent years compared to others

    Will be interesting to see what next year brings for O2 in my area, but I’m not oblivious to the fact that O2 is certainly lacking in capacity in many areas, just recently I looked at eNB’s along A roads around Telford area and notices a huge lack of spectrum but as this is a VF Host area I think its going to be an annoying process of new sites being enabled rather than simple additions or upgrades.

  7. CarlT says:

    Wowsers that’s a buzzwords heavy presser.

    1. John says:

      Carl,

      I worked for VM for over a decade, and I can assure you VM love a buzz word!

  8. Gavin says:

    I’m on a MVNO of O2 and have to say I think there one of the best for coverage and consistency. The speed are not earth shattering at 20Meg but fast enough for my needs and consistent. Which means it works when I need it.

    1. Thomas says:

      My only experience with O2 was via GiffGaff and they were consistently… sh** in London and parts of the south coast of England. Most of the times I couldn’t get 1 or 2Mbps.

      I’ve read that GiffGaff has the lowest priority – behind O2 customers and Tesco Mobile – but still, not a good look for O2’s network.

  9. Lucian says:

    What I’d like to see is whether any part of this is outsourced to other countries, particularly China.

    1. Ashley says:

      Three network is great for 5G with speeds about 1gbs.

      https://www.speedtest.net/my-result/i/4896404422

  10. Ryan says:

    VM02 does 5g ?

    lol where ?

  11. CornerstoneSucks says:

    O2 and vodafone networks are unbelievably poor since they started sharing masts worse so since 2019

    had perfect network in warwickshire 60+mb 4g speeds now down to 1mb. O2 and voda have been taking down masts here rather than upgrading causing network congestion. when you do get full 5g reception i only managed 80mb max on 2 different devices

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