British mobile network operator (MNO) O2 UK has announced it plans to begin the rollout of its 5G network this year in ‘the four corners’ of the country. Outlining its initial launch plans in a press release, the cellco confirmed that Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London will be the first cities where it will switch on its 5G network. Looking beyond that, O2 UK has said that it will extend coverage to other areas of the country ‘from 2020’, so as to coincide with the wider availability of 5G handsets.
Ahead of a launch for residential consumers, and as the cellco continues to prepare for its initial 5G deployment this year, O2 UK has said it will ‘work to build a 5G Economy in coalition with British industry, making the case for 5G in the UK and exploring the possibilities of the latest mobile standard’. To that end, and following demand for its 5G testbed opportunities from FTSE 100 and leading UK businesses, the MNO has said it will create 5G innovation spaces across the UK, including in its Wayra accelerator hubs. The spaces will reportedly provide next generation 5G test environments accessible to business of all sizes.
Commenting on the matter, Mark Evans, Telefonica UK CEO, said: ‘O2’s 5G network will arrive this year and we want the next generation of mobile services to launch with a bang. 5G will benefit customers from launch, with better speeds and improved customer experience. Following the demand from our FTSE 100 trials, we are extending our testbed opportunities so that businesses of all sizes can work with us to build the 5G Economy.’