Mobile operator, O2, has reached a milestone in upgrading its 4G network including rural not-spots for more than 90,000 postcodes so far this year. The boost in coverage includes 400 popular tourist destinations, as the operator readies itself for lockdown easing on Saturday 4th July, when UK tourism makes its return to what is expected to be a bumper stay-at-home summer.
The company now has 4G coverage in over 18,000 regional towns, villages and hamlets – from Inveruglas on the shore of Loch Lomond, to Cynheidre in South Wales – helping to ease network congestion, and improve download and web browsing speeds.
The announcement comes at a critical time as the nation emerges from the pandemic with a renewed reliance on technology. O2 experienced an initial 25% increase in phone calls at the start of the pandemic as Britons checked on their friends and family, with people spending 30% longer on the phone (on average) since lockdown.
The news also comes in the wake of the government’s announcement on a Shared Rural Network, an initiative that encourages operators to cooperate on 4G rollout to connect the smallest rural communities – down to hamlets with less than ten residents.
O2 has also continued to roll out its 5G network, allowing customers to access outdoor, ground-level 5G coverage at over 300 popular UK destinations – crucial in helping customers and businesses as the UK emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It has never been more important for people to keep connected. We have a collective responsibility to help rebuild our nation, and the telecoms industry stands at the forefront of this effort. With the government signalling a return of tourism in the coming days and weeks, we want to make it easy for people to enjoy summer safely. All with the knowledge that they can venture to pockets of the countryside and still keep in touch with friends and family
Brendan O’Reilly, Chief Technology Officer at O2