O2 embarking on ‘ambitious’ network upgrade programme


Operator upgrading a quarter of its 2G and 3G masts before the end of the year and spending £16m to bring 3G data coverage to more than 200 areas; 4G network now covers 191 towns and cities

O2 is also embarking on a nationwide network modernisation programme, which it claims is one of the largest infrastructure improvement projects taking place in the UK today.

Around a quarter or 4,500 of its 2G and 3G masts will be upgraded by the end of this year which it said would deliver increased call quality and all-round network experience, improving both call and data connectivity at peak times and in high-density areas.

The upgrade work will be covered on an area-by-area basis with key components refreshed or replaced, such as fibre connections, radio equipment, remote monitoring and device antennas.

The operator is also spending an additional £16 million to bring 3G data coverage to more than 200 areas across the UK this year that haven’t experienced it before.

The upgrades come as O2 announces its 4G network now covers one third of the UK population indoors, reaching 20 cities and around 171 towns. It also now reaches 41 per cent of the population outdoors.

Cities with access to the network include Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Since the network launched last August, O2 has amassed more than one million 4G customers. The operator said those customers used more data on the 4G network’s first six months than the entire O2 network carried between 2000 and 2008.

O2 UK COO Derek McManus 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.

“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 Wi-Fi.”