O2 has unveiled plans to accelerate the growth of its mobile network and build significant headroom for mobile data, in a multi-year programme of investment totalling hundreds of millions of pounds.
The planned investment will cover upgrade of the current radio network and also the delivery of new sites. Altogether, 200 sites will be delivered in London alone in the next 12 months, 40 of which will be live by Christmas 2009. In 2010 other areas of the UK will see similar developments.
Derek McManus, chief technology officer at O2 in the UK said: “Anticipating growth in demand for mobile services, we have quarter on quarter increased investment in our voice and data networks. Our £500 million investment over the last two years has enabled us to offer our customers the best products in the world, including the Apple iPhone and Palm Pre.
“In the past 12 months the mobile industry has seen an unprecedented change in demand. The introduction of world class devices, in combination with a wide variety of data applications, has brought about a dramatic change in customer behaviour and created an exponential demand on mobile data networks. To put this in context, watching a YouTube video on a smartphone can use the same capacity on the network as sending 500,000 text messages simultaneously.
“We are now aggressively accelerating our network growth programme to ensure we have significant headroom for the future and retain our focus on being number one for customer satisfaction.”
O2’s 3G network covers over 84% of the UK population and is 100% HSDPA enabled. O2 was ranked highest for customer satisfaction for both UK mobile and fixed broadband customers according to the J.D. Power and Associates UK Mobile and Fixed Broadband Studies 2009.
In March 2009, O2 and Vodafone announced a strategic partnership to share network infrastructure across the UK. 100 joint sites are now live in the programme with more planned for roll out in 2010.
O2 has partnered with The Cloud and BT Openzone to offer 7,500 WiFi hotspots across the UK.