• 5G is now live in 60 towns and cities – including areas of Aberdeen, Brighton and Oxford – as O2 surpasses commitment to switch-on 5G in 50 places by Summer 2020
  • O2 first to launch an LTE-M network, which is now live at approximately 10,000 sites, supporting Britain’s digital leadership in the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) technologies
  • Announcements provide complementary customer-focused services to help rebuild Britain

Today, O2 announces two major network milestones that will provide different but complementary services to benefit customers and help rebuild Britain. The mobile operator’s next generation 5G network is now live in areas of 60 towns and cities* across the UK, beating its original target as it continues to support mobile Britain during a time of unprecedented reliance on network connectivity. The milestone comes at the same time that O2 reaches 10,000 sites for its first-to-market LTE-M (Long Term Evolution, category M1) network, which will power IoT devices and further help business productivity.

The next generation 5G network is crucial in developing the national digital infrastructure, helping customers and businesses connect like never before to support the economy as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. O2 customers with 5G-enabled devices will be able enjoy the benefits of fifth generation connectivity in areas of Aberdeen, Brighton and Oxford, as well as a number of other regions across the country. Those wanting to know where they can access 5G can visit O2’s updated coverage checker to get the latest information.

O2’s 5G network continues to have no premium, and includes its ‘Limitless’ tariff, offering consumers unlimited data browsing, as well as its existing custom plans, which will ensure customers have the flexibility to take advantage of 5G on their terms.

Leading IoT technology with LTE-M

The news comes as O2 reaches a significant moment in the rollout of its LTE-M network – the connectivity that enables the ‘Internet of Things’ and will lay the foundation for Britain’s smart cities, businesses and homes.

Approximately 10,000 LTE-M sites are now live across the east of the country, allowing customers and businesses to make the most of next-gen IoT technologies in their day to day lives. The new network will cover 57% of premises and 58% of the population and will allow billions of devices to be connected to the internet to collect and share data.

For customers, IoT will make the world smarter and unlock new ways to live and work more efficiently and sustainably. At home, your fridge can remind you to eat something before it goes out of date and reduce wastage. Or IoT-based smart meters can provide consumers with added value services like direct information on energy consumption and offer access to flexible tariffs.

Businesses can use asset tracking to monitor where things are in its warehouses so you have the right products in the right place at the right time. For example:

  • In Utilities, sensors that monitor infrastructure to improve industry efficiencies, like gas and water meters (including smart meter tracking and pipeline monitoring), or micro generation (monitoring the status of wind, solar or thermal generation equipment with sensors).
  • In Logistics, for mobile asset tracking, allowing IoT devices to run without mains power, or regular recharging. For example, tracking the location and status of industrial assets, such as materials, vehicles or containers.
  • In Industry / Manufacturing, where using IoT devices can improve the safety and efficiency of industrial production, like industrial tank process/safety (monitoring petrochemical and waste storage, hazardous fluid tanks, or high RF interference environments).

And connected ‘Smart Cities’ will help reduce frustrations – car park sensors will show people where there’s a free space to park, and smart street lights can be managed remotely to dim lights when no one is around, cutting costs and improving quality of life for residents. For more information on LTE-M and its potential use cases, please visit our new LTE-M Business Blog.

Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer at O2 said: “O2 is at the forefront of connectivity which is now one of the UK’s most valued services. Our customer-centric networks, underpinned by 5G and LTE-M technologies, will help power this country into recovery as we look to rebuild Britain. As the UK faces an uncertain year ahead, it’s vital we continue to invest in new innovations and technologies to keep Britain mobile and connected.

“I believe technologies like 5G and LTE-M are going to revolutionise the way people and businesses use mobile connectivity, unlocking huge possibilities for our economy and society. We’re excited to be getting this next generation tech into the hands of more of our customers, with tariffs that are flexible and affordable.”

5G network roll-out and ongoing 4G investment

The 5G network supplements rather than replaces today’s award-winning 4G network. O2 invests over £2m a day in its network in areas where customers need it most, laying strong foundations for the 5G service. For three consecutive years O2 has won Best Network Coverage provider at the publicly voted Uswitch Awards and won Best Network Performance at the Mobile News awards 2019 and was named Most Reliable Network by GWS in 2019 & 2020.

O2 currently offers 4G in 19,185 cities, towns and villages across the UK and between Jan – May this year, it has upgraded 4G capacity in 90,954 UK postal codes. In total, O2 invests over £2m a day in its network as it works in tandem with the Government’s ambition to build in a strong digital infrastructure for the UK, with world-leading 4G and 5G connectivity.

O2’s 5G network infrastructure is being rolled out in partnership with primary vendors Ericsson and Nokia, following a competitive tender.


Notes to editors

Flexible plans

Our 5G custom plans put customers in control so they can build a plan that suits their needs. They can choose their upfront cost, the 5G data allowance they need, including unlimited and choose how to spread the remaining cost between 3 and 36 months, as well as having the option to flex their 5G data allowance up or down every month to suit their needs. This gives customer the flexibility to be part of the 5th Generation on their terms.

O2 Extras

5G will enhance the live streaming experience with improved speed, greater capacity and reduced latency. New and upgrading customers can use our 5th generation network to enjoy a broad range of digital perks and content services with ‘O2 extras’. Building on the ground-breaking custom plans, customers can take their pick from Disney+, McAfee, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music Unlimited, Audible, Cafeyn, Calm, MelodyVR or O2 International Bolt-on. For more information visit http://www.o2.co.uk/extras

 5G Phones

O2 has a broad range of 5G phones for customers to choose from, including: Samsung Galaxy S10 5G; Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus 5G; Samsung Galaxy S20 5G; Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G; Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G; Samsung Galaxy A90 (5G); Oppo Find X2 5G (pre-order); OPPO Find X2 Pro 5G; OPPO Find X2 Neo 5G; OPPO Find X2 Lite 5G; OPPO Reno 5G; Sony Xperia 1 II 5G (pre-order); Huawei Mate 20 X 5G; Huawei P40 Pro 5G; Motorola Edge 5G; and the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G. See our 5G phones  

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on:
press@virginmediao2.co.uk 01753 565656
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