O2's network in meltdown from smartphone usage

Never seen as having the best UK network, O2 has admitted its data network is in need of serious investment. The company claims the pressure on the network is being felt in certain hotspot locations where there is a high concentration of smartphones.

The company has given the go ahead for an extra £100 million in additional network spend next year, while spending another £30 million prior to Christmas in London where users are currently experiencing calls going straight to voicemail, dropped calls or difficulty in establishing a data connection.

O2's CTO, Derek McManus, said: "The introduction of world-class smartphones, in combination with a wide variety of data applications, has brought about a dramatic change in customer behaviour and created an exponential demand on mobile data networks. Data on our network has increased 20-fold in the last year alone, and to put this in context, watching a YouTube video on a smartphone can use the same capacity on the network as sending 500,000 text messages simultaneously."

As an indication of the level of network congestion, the company has established a team of O2 technology senior managers and a board level steering committee to drive the upgrade plans. Apparently, the operator has already chosen vendors and suppliers.

Perhaps to help with this seemingly unplanned Capex, O2 has announced that it has placed its entire 220-strong marketing department into ‘consultation' in a process that aims to reduce the headcount by 10 per cent. The CEO, Ronan Dunne, denied that the redundancy programme was about cutting costs, but rather about "investing in areas of the business that the customers most value".

For more on this story:
Mobile Today

Related stories:
O2: the UK's largest operator, with the poorest 3G coverage
Smartphones causing network data overload, claims O2
Data revenues point to iPhone success for O2
Vodafone/O2 network sharing goes live

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