Bradford and Coventry some of the most data hungry cities in September 

  • Data consumption across a number of cities has jumped by up to 50% compared to the same time last year* as some face tighter local lockdown measures
  • O2 runs the UK’s #1 Mobile Network and the company continues to commit key network investment to help Rebuild Britain

Today O2 has shared insights from its network showing data consumption has increased in September* by as much as 50% in Bradford as it enters its third month of local restrictions. Other cities with significant rises include Coventry (47%), Hull, Norwich and Nottingham (all 42%). O2 has also mapped data traffic spikes during key moments for the country since the start of lockdown**, including government speeches on lockdowns. O2 continues to commit key network investment that will help to rebuild Britain.

Data from O2’s network reveals some cities recently saw up to 50% increase in data consumption compared to the same period the previous year*. Cities with some of the most significant rises in data consumption were***:

  1. Bradford: +50%
  2. Coventry: +47%
  3. Hull: +42%
  4. Norwich: +42%
  5. Nottingham: +42%
  6. Derby: +41%
  7. Leicester: +40%
  8. Sheffield: +36%
  9. Aberdeen: +35%
  10. Bournemouth: +34%

Since the start of lockdown** O2 has upgraded 4G capacity in over 8,800 postcodes across these cities, including 1,600 in Bradford, 1,300 in Sheffield and 1,200 in Hull. This means less network congestion, faster download speeds and web browsing, an improved social media experience, and less video stalling. The commitment to keeping people connected has been supported by over 12,000 visits from O2 field engineers to keep local sites across the country online.

As people increasingly relied on technology to keep them connected with loved ones, O2 found that data traffic spikes since lockdown have coincided with key moments for the country, including the end of the Premier League season, the Champions League final and the Government’s lockdown announcement at the end of April.

As restrictions continue to be imposed, these insights show the value that mobile has brought and will continue to bring during the global pandemic. O2’s Self Organising Network (SON) makes 22,000 autonomous and immediate customer-led network decisions daily to ensure customers get the best possible experience.

Brendan O’Reilly Chief Technology Officer for O2, commented: “Mobile connectivity has become a true lifeline for many and will continue to play a vital role in keeping Britain connected. We remain committed to doing everything we can to help our customers stay in contact with their colleagues, friends and loved ones during this challenging period.

Other news from the O2 Network in the last quarter:


 Notes to Editors:

*The data shows the % increase of data consumption for September 2020, compared with September 2019
**The lockdown period being referred to is the period April to September 2020 inclusive
***Cities included cover England, Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland excluding London

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O2’s headline network commitments which support Rebuilding Britain are:

  • Investment of over £2m a day to strengthen 4G country-wide, currently available in over 19,200 towns, cities and villages
  • Doubling the capacity of its voice network to support the pandemic
  • Supporting the NHS with data, devices and training infrastructure
  • Expediting 5G rollout, already available in 75 towns and cities. To see whether 5G has arrived in your area visit our coverage checker
  • Leading a programme of work to eliminate rural not-spots
  • Asserting digital leadership through the UK’s original LTE network powering IoT tech

About Telefónica UK / O2  

O2 is the principal commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited, part of the global telecommunications group Telefónica S.A, headquartered in Spain and operating in Europe, and North, Central and South America.

O2 is the UK’s largest network with more than 34 million connections, providing 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G services while operating a nationwide O2 Wifi service.  For three consecutive years, O2’s network has won Best Network Coverage provider at the publicly voted Uswitch Awards (2018, 2019, 2020). It won Best Network Performance at the Mobile News Awards 2019 and 2020, was named Most Reliable Network by GWS in 2019 and 2020 and Best Network for Business at the Mobile Industry awards for two years running (2019, 2020).

The company is the network of choice for mobile virtual network operators giffgaff, Sky Mobile and Lycamobile and manages a 50:50 joint venture with Tesco for Tesco Mobile.

O2 has led the industry with its commitment to Customer Fairness. Since 2013 O2 Refresh has split airtime and device costs so customers never pay for a handset they already own, and the evolution of customisable plans gives customers true flexibility over how they pay for their mobile phone. From exclusive Priority Tickets which provide customers with pre-sale tickets for The O2 and O2 Academy venues, 48 hours before everyone else, to England Rugby matches – who O2 have proudly been sponsors of since 1995.

O2 strives to do the right thing both as a business and for its customers.  It has committed to becoming net zero by 2025 and to working with supply chain partners to reduce carbon emissions by 30% in the next five years. The O2 Recycle scheme was named Best Recycle Service at the Mobile Industry Awards, and encourages customers to dispose of old devices responsibly.  Last year O2 was one of only three companies globally to be recertified at the highest level by the Carbon Trust Standard for reducing supply chain emissions.   Through its partnership with the NSPCC, since 2015 O2 has helped parents take over 7 million actions keep their kids safe online. In 2020 it became the only UK mobile network to sign up to The Conscious Advertising Network (CAN), a voluntary coalition of organisations set up to ensure that industry ethics catches up with the technology of modern advertising.

O2 has 6,500 employees across three main office sites and more than 440 retail stores, and was named a Best Place To Work in Glassdoor’s 2019 Employee’s Choice Awards.  Its industry-leading inclusive policies have seen it recognised with a National Inclusion Standard accreditation. In 2019 the company introduced 14 weeks’ paid paternity leave for heterosexual and same-sex couples, and it launched a toolkit for employees considering transitioning at work.  It is the only teleco named in the Social Mobility Employer Index for the last three years.

Telefónica UK Limited is registered in England and Wales. Registration number: 1743099.  Its registered office is at: 260 Bath Road, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 4DX, United Kingdom

Journalists can contact the Virgin Media O2 press office on: 01753 565656
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