O2 UK first to switch on superfast 3G 900MHz network

O2 has announced that it has switched on a new superfast 3G network across London this week, having gained permission to reuse the 900MHz spectrum for 3G services from Ofcom, the UK Communications Regulator, back in January.

The mobile operator is the first UK operator to take advantage of the change to its 900MHz network licence. The new 3G900 network layer in London is expected to deliver a 50% increase in capacity to O2’s existing 3G network.

The 900MHz frequency band was previously only licensed for 2G services in the UK, but it offers the capability to significantly improve the potential of 3G services. Since being granted its new network licence in January, O2 has already deployed 3G900 services in key cities across the UK, including Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester, with other cities set to follow in the coming months.

Rigorous customer experience testing has shown that, on average, O2 customers on 3G900 compatible devices are now receiving data 30% faster than before the new spectrum was allocated for 3G use.

Network capacity in the areas where 3G900 has been rolled out has also increased by 50%, allowing more people to take advantage of O2’s high speed data services and in more places.

Nigel Purdy, chief technology officer at Telefónica O2 UK, said: “This 3G900 switch on is the latest in a series of network enhancements for O2, and is a first for the UK and Telefónica. We’ve acted quickly to bring the benefits of 3G over 900MHz spectrum to our customers and we’re thrilled with the results. Quite simply, on O2’s network, more customers can use more data, and experience it quicker.

“We invest the equivalent of over £1m a day, every day, in our network, which is used to deliver technologies in a way that goes beyond traditional cellular infrastructure; providing access to a new range of ‘smarter’ services. Our strategy is to intelligently layer our network to give our customers connection to 2G, 3G, HSPA+,LTE and Wi-Fi, seamlessly, simply and at speed.”

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