Making O2 5G a reality – Emma Evans
We switched on our 5G network in October, beginning with Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds. By the end of the year, we’re planning to bring our 5G network to a further 14 towns and cities, before rolling out to a total of 50 by summer 2020.
Behind O2’s 5G rollout is a dedicated and diverse team of people, working hard to bring about 5G’s benefits to our customers. Meet Emma Evans, Head of Network Communications and Experience at O2.
Meet Emma Evans, Head of Network Communications and Experience at O2.
What do you do at O2? What part of the 5G delivery are you involved in?
I’m Head of Network Communications and Experience at O2, which is about making sure we are communicating effectively about our network experience to all our stakeholders. That includes employees, consumer and business customers, the local community and government stakeholders alike. It’s a broad role that bridges the gap between O2’s service management, technical network, marketing and corporate affairs teams, and includes marketing and public relations, as well as learning and development.
Over the past year, I’ve been working with the network teams to consider 5G’s capabilities and development in terms of what it means for our customers’ experience, and then to translate that into relevant messaging, whether through the press, PR or marketing.
How did you end up doing what you do, and why O2?
I began my career in HR at Vodafone, but quickly realised that I was better suited to communications and moved into the world of Internal Comms.
I joined O2 nearly 14 years ago as Internal Communications Business Partner for the Operations team. O2’s exclusive UK launch of the iPhone in 2007 created a demand for data that no network had seen before in the UK. This led to the development of the Trusted Network Programme, a focussed effort around building a relationship of integrity between our Network and our customers – and establishing O2 as the customer-centric network that we remain to this day.
What’s different about 5G through your eyes?
Unlike previous technologies, 5G isn’t purely about speed. It’s a technology that will unlock a whole world of opportunity and potential. For example, I am a remote worker and 5G will make it a much better and more effective experience, both for me and my colleagues. And, as a mum, I look at use cases like enhanced connectivity in vehicles, and entertainment in cars, and can see the day when they are so engrossed in their boxsets that the ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ question is never asked again!
What do you see as the biggest impact that 5G will have?
I think the most exciting thing about 5G is that we just don’t know yet about all the opportunities it will bring. 5G’s biggest impact could come from something that we haven’t even considered.
What gets you energised in the morning?
I love to achieve something, however small, early each day. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a trivial thing like getting a meeting confirmed in the diary, or hitting a personal best in the swimming pool, the achievement alone motivates me.
How do you see your role evolving in the future?
Well I’ve held the same job for 11 years through 3G, 4G and 5G, and every single day has been different. So who knows what’s next, although I suspect that it will involve a technology with a ‘G’ in its name!
What are you most excited about that the future will bring?
We’ve been working so hard and for so long on 5G – I got plenty of excitement on launch day. Further afield, it feels that we will focus on the experiences that we want technology to deliver rather than on the technology itself, and that feels exciting too.
What’s been your proudest achievement so far in your career?
A few years ago, I was the first non-technical winner of a professional of the year award in the North West.
What’s the one small thing in life that always makes you smile?
I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home, and I smile when I remind myself that I’m able to deliver what I do at the same time as being a mum.
How long would you survive a full digital detox for?
Less than a morning. No, even less than that. In fact, I wouldn’t survive at all.
How do you switch off and wind down?
I love all forms of physical exercise, including walking and going to the gym. But I feel at my most relaxed when I’m swimming, which is also when I get my best ideas.
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