O2 is today announcing the implementation of the UK’s first intelligent network. The new system is designed to analyse the experience of customers and adjust the network traffic accordingly. O2 signal redirects in real-time, learning from the behaviour of users, making it the smartest mobile network available nationally.
O2’s Self-Optimising Network analyses the network traffic and determines the best possible coverage and capacity parameters for all customers in a defined area. It then communicates directly with O2’s remote tilting antennas, which quickly respond to optimise the service for customers. O2 is the first provider in the UK to use the technology in this way. Without it, the process takes weeks to complete. It can now be done in a matter of minutes, and the ability to hold a call has improved by nearly 40% in Edinburgh where the technology was tested.
In addition to the capability delivered by O2’s Self-Optimising Network (SON) in partnership with Cellwize, O2 also analyses the performance of call, SMS and data traffic from two million customers each day. This information, which is completely anonymised, is used to improve the network quality up and down the UK, including on the top ten busiest motorways. A report is generated when a customer has a less than perfect experience, allowing O2 to focus its improvement works and speak to customers directly about their service.
The company plans to roll this initiative out to cover all 24m O2 customers by November this year, enabled via a new customer experience management system delivered by specialists, Empirix. Empirix was selected because of its experience delivering some of the best and most reliable network tools in the industry and forms part of O2’s multi-million pound commitment to bring the world’s most sophisticated network diagnostics to the UK.
Derek McManus, O2’s Chief Operating Officer, commented: “The way in which our customers use and experience our network is incredibly powerful and there is a lot we can learn from it. As well as regular infrastructure upgrades, we also prioritise the introduction of new technologies and are proud to bring this innovation to the UK. Our customers now use the smartest, most intelligent network available, which learns and responds to precisely how they choose to use it.
“Our five year £3bn network modernisation program has so far seen us roll out 4G to 575 towns and cities across the UK and we are on track to achieve 98% indoor and outdoor population coverage by 2017.”
As part of its regular and day-to-day network management, O2’s Customer Experience Unit makes 40,000 test calls and 350,000 data tests every week. Coordinated centrally from its Central Network Management Centre in Slough, Berkshire, results are collected and aggregated to provide invaluable data to inform O2’s network investment and upgrade programmes.
To experience the real-time performance of the O2 network on the ground, O2’s Network Testing team cover 700,000 miles throughout the UK each year – travelling significantly further than the best-known industry network testing companies. Drive testing allows O2 to understand the quality of the mobile reception exactly as experienced by its customers, rather than solely relying on network data centres to give an indicative reading.
O2 is using this information, which is fully aggregated and anonymised, to hold better conversations with its customers about network reliability and to strengthen its suite of award-winning customer network tools. O2’s coverage app and live website status checker are two such examples. For specific coverage problems where the laws of physics are prohibitive, customers are offered O2’s TuGo application, which carries calls over wifi, or a boostbox product to alleviate immediate challenges.
O2’s Network Vital Statistics