Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) has unveiled details of what it called its ‘burgeoning’ network of small cells across London. Claiming to have taken the lead on integrating small cells into its infrastructure, VMO2 revealed that it now has more than 1,300 live sites across the capital. According to the company, these are providing cheaper, cleaner and more flexible solutions to boost network capacity and coverage in high density urban areas.
The sites, which typically have a range of between 80 metres and 120 metres, are reportedly being installed with minimal disruption – installations can reportedly be completed within six weeks of the sites being acquired. Meanwhile, VMO2 notes that the technology uses licensed 1800MHz spectrum, with some initial trial locations utilising 2.6GHz frequencies.
In another first, meanwhile, VMO2 said it has developed a small cells solution which can be deployed within bus shelters. The trials, created in partnership with Freshwave, involve new small cells connected to the fibre within bus shelters, which are also 5G ready. It was noted that the antenna on the rooftop has been built for multi-operator use, should there be a demand. In a similar trial, VMO2 said it also trialling a new payphone deployment across sites in Westminster with Cellnex UK.
Commenting, VMO2’s Chief Technology Officer, Jeanie York, said: ‘Building a 5G network is a complex job, so we are constantly looking at ways to create efficiencies via collaboration with partners that will ultimately benefit our customers. Technologies such as small cells help us increase network bandwidth, which allows us to keep up with customer demand, with data traffic levels increasing 34% year on year … Our Radio Network Engineering team have done a fantastic job to develop our small cell delivery programme. I’m excited to see where this will take us as we look to roll out at scale to provide a more sustainable solution that still provides fast and reliable connectivity for our customers as we upgrade the UK.’