Ericsson has announced that it has been selected by O2 UK, a wholly owned subsidiary of Spanish telecoms operator Telefonica, to supply an Evolved Packet Core (EPC) – the core network of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) system – for 100% of the mobile operator’s network. In addition, the Swedish equipment vendor will supply and deploy RBS 6000 multi-standard radio base stations for 50% of O2’s nationwide radio access network. The new nationwide multi-standard network will support 2G/3G/4G, giving O2 the ability to cope with growth in data traffic and expand its mobile coverage. Ericsson will become O2’s sole supplier of EPC in the UK and deployment has already commenced. ‘This network transformation will put us in a great position for a seamless launch of 4G services this year,’ commented Andrew Conway, Head of Mobile Access at O2, adding: ‘The outcome of the recent spectrum auction allows us to ensure the widest and deepest possible reach for new services and will see O2’s 4G network provide indoor coverage to 98% of the UK population.’
As reported by CommsUpdate, UK telecoms regulator Ofcom last week announced O2 as one of five successful bidders for 4G mobile spectrum; the Spanish-owned firm secured 2×10MHz of 800MHz spectrum for a total of GBP550 million (USD833.8 million). The other winners were: UK-based Vodafone, which bid GBP790.761 million for 2×10MHz in the 800MHz band, and 2×20MHz of 2.6GHz and 1×25MHz of 2.6GHz (unpaired); EE, which spent GBP588.876 million on 2×5MHz in the 800MHz band, as well as 2×35MHz in the 2.6GHz band; the market’s smallest operator, Hutchison 3G UK (operating under the ‘Three’ banner), which secured 2×5MHz of 800MHz spectrum for GBP225 million; and finally Niche Spectrum Ventures, a subsidiary of BT which will pay GBP186.476 million for 2×15MHz of 2.6GHz and 1×20MHz of 2.6GHz (unpaired) spectrum.