UK mobile operator O2 has announced fast-tracked plans for a national network upgrade worth “hundreds of millions” in investment.
The carrier has already invested £500 million (€558 million) over the last two years on its 3G network.. Under the new plans, 200 new base stations will be deployed in London over the next 12 months, 40 of which will be live by Christmas
During 2010 similar network deployments will take place throughout the UK, although the carrier has yet to detail the extent of the national deployment. O2’s 3G HSDPA network currently covers over 84% of the UK population.
O2 CTO Derek McManus said “anticipating growth in demand for mobile services, we have quarter on quarter increased investment in our voice and data networks.”
O2 has denied that the accelerated rollout is a response to heightened competition presented by rivals Vodafone, and the merger between T-Mobile and Orange.
“We are now aggressively accelerating our network growth program to ensure we have significant headroom for the future and retain our focus on being number one for customer satisfaction,” he added.
In March, O2 and Vodafone signed a strategic partnership to share network infrastructure across the UK. Under the program 100 joint sites are now live with more planned for roll-out in 2010.
Meanwhile O2 has also partnered with The Cloud and BT Openzone to offer 7,500 WiFi hotspots across the UK.
The carrier has yet to disclose which vendor or vendors it is using for its network upgrade or of it is conducting a tender.