O2 scales new heights to expand connectivity across Scotland

31 October 2017

An engineer installs a small cell radio for O2 on a lamppost in Aberdeen.

An engineer installs a small cell radio for O2 on a lamppost in Aberdeen.

O2 claims it has overcome all the challenges of Scotland’s varied terrain and extreme weather to bring mobile connectivity to both urban and rural communities across the country.

By the end of 2017, the operator says more than 800 new locations in Scotland will be covered by its network. To meet the growing demand for data in every corner of the country, O2 says it has deployed fleets of helicopters and off-road vehicles to install the new technology and digital infrastructure needed to bring 4G to more customers.

For instance in Aberdeen, the company has worked with the Wireless Infrastructure Group to install what’s claimed to be the UK’s first fibre-connected small cell network. Discreetly positioned on lampposts, O2 says the technology will improve network capacity and 4G connection speeds for shoppers and city workers, as well as help pave the way for future 5G.

Earlier in October, the operator built a new 4G mast in Fort William, the gateway to Ben Nevis. Before the end of the year, O2 plans to send engineers in helicopters to install a second mast higher up the mountain so that climbers can stay connected.

Meanwhile in Inverness, a new 50 metre mast will be constructed just outside the city to significantly improve the range and performance of 4G connectivity for local users.

As well as connectivity infrastructure, O2 says it has also installed 85 new generators in some of Scotland’s most isolated and hard to reach locations. It says this will ensure that mobile connectivity isn’t affected by the power cuts that are often caused by adverse weather conditions.

Fergus Ewing, MSP for Inverness and Nairn, and cabinet secretary for the rural economy and connectivity, says: “High-quality mobile communications for people across Scotland is a priority for the Scottish Government. Our Mobile Action Plan sets out a clear commitment to working with the mobile industry to deliver improved mobile coverage in Scotland.”