Virgin Media O2 revealed its 5G network now covers 64 per cent of the population in London and indicated it is on track to achieving 50 per cent coverage of the entire UK population by 2023.
The operator stated it deployed 5G at more than 2,000 sites across the country in 2021 and now provides services in 300 towns and cities.
Kester Mann, analyst at CCS Insight, described the operator’s 5G network update as “positive” but “somewhat overdue”, and pointed to the role played by low-band 700MHz frequencies in the achievement of coverage targets.
Virgin Media O2 was created out of Telefonica’s mobile operator O2 UK and Liberty Global-owned fixed company Virgin Media.
Prior to the merger, O2 UK and rivals EE, 3 UK and Vodafone UK picked up 5G-enabling frequencies in the 700MHz and 3.6GHz to 3.8GHz bands following a UK spectrum auction in March 2021.
Also worth noting is Virgin Media had relied on a MVNO agreement with Vodafone UK for its launch of 5G services in January 2021. However, the fixed operator gave notice on the contract in June 2021 when the merger was completed.
Since merging, the operator made aggressive market moves including bumping data allowances and speeds for swathes of its customers, and retaining a policy of free European Roaming as rivals gradually reintroduce charges.
Executives from the venture and constituent companies have regularly outlined intent to push converged services and become a “national connectivity champion”.
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