O2 has announced plans to launch its 5G network later this year, with a clear focus on businesses.
Exact dates are yet to be announced, but O2 have confirmed the launch will take place in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast before rolling out across the rest of the UK in 2020, when 5G smartphones are expected to become more readily available.
The network upgrade is fuelled by a £1 billion CAPEX investment. Although the network will inevitably be available to consumers too, O2 are clearly focusing more of their efforts on promoting the benefits of 5G for business and enterprise. Over the past couple of months, O2 have been running testbeds with FTSE 100 companies, to identify the most important uses for 5G in British businesses.
As part of its launch strategy, O2 will be offering 5G “innovation spaces”, to allow businesses of all sizes to test the implementations of 5G and trial 5G services, particularly for research and product development purposes.
“5G will benefit customers from launch, with better speeds and improved customer experience,” said Mark Evans, CEO, Telefónica UK (O2’s parent company). “Following the demand from our FTSE 100 trials, we are extending our testbed opportunities so that businesses of all sizes can work with us to build the 5G Economy.
“5G is a promise of so much more – for consumers, business, industry and public services,” Evans added. “O2 is working in partnership with British industry, encouraging businesses, big and small, to engage with the possibilities of 5G technology through both our testbed programme and launch deployment. Mobile is one of the UK’s most powerful opportunities to strengthen our economy and improve the lives of British people and 5G is a significant milestone for this nation.”
5G is the next generation of mobile telecommunications, expected to offer speeds several times faster than 4G, allow more devices to be connected to the network at any one time and greatly reduce delays in connections.
As an O2 Direct Partner, Active Digital will be among the first to be able to offer O2 5G to its customers in 2019. We’re excited about the new possibilities the network upgrade will offer, and we’ll be here to support our customers in experiencing a smooth network upgrade, as well as ensuring all the new opportunities from 5G are maximised.