O2 set to boost 4G capacity

O2 set to boost 4G capacity

UK provider O2 has announced it is set to boost the capacity of its 4G network by re-farming 1800MHz spectrum.

The company claims the move will be particularly positive for its 4G network in urban areas, while the decision to enable automatic offload to the O2 Wi-Fi network could also improve LTE coverage in more rural areas of the country.

O2 has to date only used the 800MHz spectrum it won in 2013 to cater for its LTE network and is currently the only major operator in the UK to not own any 2.6GHz bandwidth.

The 1800Mhz band has so far been mainly used by rival firm EE, but O2 is now poised to roll out the band in London before expanding to other cities later in the year.

Other moves include the upgrading of Wi-Fi hotspots, which it claims will help to add a further boost to superfast mobile internet coverage.

O2's chief technology officer Brendan O’Reilly told Tech Week Europe that the company had learned from other markets about boosting capacity, insisting that improving Wi-Fi would help supplement its cellular coverage.

The company's 4G network currently boasts indoor 4G coverage of 63 per cent and 75 per cent outdoor coverage, with the terms of its 800Mhz spectrum licence meaning it must provide an LTE service to 98 per cent of the UK population by 2017.

Mr O'Reilly added this latest move would help to give its service a more of a much-needed rural focus.

“For the first two years it was about towns and cities,” he said. “2015 is the year we go from urban to rural. We will start giving 4G to some customers who don’t have usable broadband.”

The move will come as a further boost to ongoing trends regarding flexible and mobile working, which have both become integral parts of many modern businesses across the country.