05 December 2018
O2 is piloting Massive MIMO technology in London's Kings Cross and Marble Arch.
The mobile operator says the tests are aimed at enhancing connectivity for customers, and to pave the way for the future deployment of 5G across the capital.
O2 is using Massive MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) technology from its network infrastructure partner, Nokia.
This works by sending multiple beams of data from an antenna to devices.
It is designed to increase performance and enhance capacity with the ability to serve more users simultaneously.
According to data from Transport for London, more than 95 million people travel through the Kings Cross and St. Pancras area every year, while more than 14 million passed through Marble Arch area last year.
By trialling the technology in locations with high levels of data traffic, O2 says it will be able to boost coverage in these areas whilst also evaluating the technology for future deployment in urban areas.
In addition to enhancing current network capacity, O2 says the pilot will lay the foundation for 5G.
Massive MIMO is expected to be able to help deliver the demand for increased data usage that is expected once this next-generation mobile technology is rolled out.
The trial uses the additional 2.3GHz frequencies that O2 secured in Ofcom’s spectrum auction earlier this year.
The company says it was the only UK network operator to secure extra 2.3GHz capacity to boost its existing network5G foundations.
O2 will evaluate the trials with a view to potentially deploying Massive MIMO technology elsewhere in London and beyond as it continues to modernise its network in cities across the UK.
The operator claims it invests more than £2 million per day to maintain and improve its network.
Brendan O’Reilly, CTO of O2’s parent company Telefonica UK, says: “Whether trialling 5G, or ensuring the remotest parts of rural Britain can connect to 4G, O2 is committed to building a truly mobile Britain.”
Earlier this year, Ofcom confirmed that O2 had delivered against its commitment to provide 98 per cent indoor 4G coverage and 90 per cent geographical coverage across the UK.