No network is an island – they rely on outside companies to help supply and build much of their network infrastructure, and that includes the roll out of 5G, for which O2 has just chosen Ericsson to be a big part of.
Ericsson will provide O2 with a “substantial network modernization program”, reaching all across the UK, including England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
This will allow O2 to bring 5G to numerous additional towns and cities in all these regions, with the work involving upgrades of existing 2G, 3G, and 4G infrastructure, and the deployment of Ericsson’s 5G radio access network (RAN) across more the UK.
The two companies also specifically highlight the west of the UK as getting hardware, software, and service upgrades through this partnership, which should lead to greater coverage, voice, and data capacity.
Manchester, Liverpool, and Cardiff are also name-checked – these cities already have 5G coverage from O2, but presumably it’s set to improve as part of this arrangement.
This isn’t a totally new partnership. O2 has been working with Ericsson since the start of its 5G roll out, but this latest news shows that this partnership is being extended and continuing. It’s a move that makes sense, not least because one of the biggest potential alternatives – Huawei – has an uncertain role in the UK’s 5G future.
Brendan O’Reilly, CTO at O2, said: “We are pleased to be moving forward with Ericsson as one of our primary vendors for our 5G rollout. Telecommunications has never been more important in keeping the country connected, and we look forward to bringing the enhanced capabilities of 5G to our customers.”
The upgrade work that Ericsson is set to provide won’t just lead to improved 5G coverage, but also apparently greater capacity, meaning the network can keep up with increased data demands. It should also help O2 work towards migrating to 5G Standalone (SA) architecture, which is something all networks will be hoping to do.
Ericsson for its part isn’t just working with O2. It also for example was chosen by BT to supply that company’s 5G core network. So it’s playing a major role in the UK’s 5G infrastructure.
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