MWC 2019: Connectivity
From cave paintings and smoke signals, to the digital binary coding system, the human race has always searched for better ways to remain connected. Collectively we’ve looked to technology to help reduce geographical boundaries and define how we stay connected to family, friends, suppliers, colleagues, and prospective employers. We expect to like a comment, retweet another, swipe right (or left as appropriate) and have a continuous feed of consciousness from the people we find of interest. And we want to do this from any connected device wherever we happen to be.
At O2, we provide fixed, mobile and WiFi networks – converging these cores in to something we call O2 Gateway. This not only provides a seamless and a CAS(T) secure experience across networks, but also provides extensions in to various cloud services and applications including AWS and O365. They allow work to be done wherever you are, rather than a place you have to be.
But connectivity isn’t just about people and/or systems. Increasingly it is a hybrid of people and device. Connected devices range from the infrastructure for Smart Cities and autonomous vehicles, to voice assistants and microwaves in the home. All need internet access to make the most of the services they provide. With millions of these devices expected to be connecting to our mobile network over the coming years, we’re ensuring we provide a reliable and secure network by continued investment of over £2 million per day.
And as 5G deployments continue to be planned (along with the devices to support it) we are working closely with our customers to understand how they would like to make best use of the low power, low latency and high bandwidth this technology can provide.
With O2 also being the first UK carrier to implement a SON (Self Optimising Network) that analyses call performance and makes network improvements dynamically, we’ve been able to speed up the resolution of network issues. Its part of the reason we were awarded the uSwitch Broadband and Mobile Awards public choice award for “Best Network Coverage” for 2 years running.
O2’s mobile network also provides the connectivity for several of the UK’s MVNO’s, including Tesco mobile, giffgaff and Sky Mobile. Combined, there are over 32 million connections to 2’s mobile network.
Below is an outline of some of our current writings related to how we look to provide connectivity options that make a difference to organisations across the UK.
Following demand for 5G testbed opportunities, from FTSE 100 and leading UK businesses, just last week we announced we will begin the rollout of our 5G network this year in the four corners of the UK. We’re creating 5G innovation spaces across the country, including in our Wayra accelerator hubs, with Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London to be the first to benefit from our 5G network
In September Matt Denby, Client Director to Transport for London for O2, wrote about the impact that 5G will have on Smart Cities, the benefits they will bring, and when we can expect to see them.
O2 has committed to supporting the design of Europe’s largest fibre connected small cell network. Due to launch in 2020, the project will lay the foundations for a rapid deployment of 5G connectivity
Is your network fit for the digital age?
O2 Gateway, our connectivity capability, brings together three networks onto one integrated platform – mobile, traditional WAN and Wifi.
Throughout 2018, O2 was involved in a project looking at the implications of introducing autonomous vehicles on our city streets. Our existing 4G network infrastructure proved capable of delivering our partners’ needs for the GATEway project, but the speed and low latency of 5G will be game changing.
O2 and Vodafone plan to extend the existing network sharing partnership term and include 5G at joint radio network sites. This would enable both O2 and Vodafone to deploy 5G faster, to offer 5G services to more customers over a wider geographic area, and to do so at a lower cost.
O2 is working with Nokia on two Massive MIMO trials in Kings Cross and Marble Arch, aimed at enhancing connectivity for O2 customers and paving the way for the future deployment of 5G across the capital.