"Some of the crowd are on the pitch... they're posting selfies"

It’s not long ‘til the #RBS6Nations kicks off where hundreds of thousands of supporters will enjoy world class rugby up and down the UK from Cardiff to Edinburgh and RFU HQ at Twickenham.  

Every week, millions of customers flock to arenas and stadiums to cheer on their teams, eager to share every high and low of the matches, whether they’re in the stand or watching on a big screen.  Predictions of scores, selfies and mickey-taking tweets are sent in their millions across our network.  If our engineers weren’t at the top of their game, those digital media interactions might get delayed. Thankfully, supporting our customers at major events is simply another task that we are committed to doing brilliantly.

We’ve got a track record of network innovation. In January 2014 we inaugurated the first 4G stadium build for any UK mobile operator after deploying a 2G,3G and 4G base station with 32 sector antennas across Sunderland FC’s Stadium of Light, based, in part, on our ground-breaking Olympic 2012 designs. In April 2014, we rolled out cutting-edge Wi-Fi technology across Manchester City’s 47,000 capacity stadium, making it the first Premier League football club to offer unparalleled connectivity.  It marked a major digital milestone for UK sports stadia and demonstrated our on-going commitment to opening the possibilities of technology to all.

Last year we provided bespoke network solutions to over 100 special events and monitored our network at a further 300. Our network team kept customers connected at major sporting competitions including the Ryder Cup, Tour de France and Olympic and Commonwealth Games as well as headline music festivals and events such as Glastonbury, Creamfields and the Notting Hill Carnival.

We’re always looking at ways to make our network faster, stronger and smarter. That’s why we’re investing £1.5 billion over the next three years which includes the on-going modernisation of our 2G and 3G networks and roll-out of 4G until we achieve our target of 98% UK population coverage (ahead of our 2017 regulatory requirement).

As the proud sponsor of England Rugby, we take pride in helping our customers stay connected, particularly at Twickenham, where in November 2014, we were the first operator to roll out in-stadium 4G at a rugby match.  Shame it didn’t help the team find those four points they needed for a win but it did give 82,000 O2 4G customers their own performance boost! With the RBS 6 Nations and the Rugby World Cup taking place at the home of England Rugby this year, we’re ready to support with our special fleet of van-based COWs (Cells on Wheels) using state-of-the-art technology to make sure our customers have a brilliant network experience at every game.

It’s often said that the crowd in a stadium is your team’s ‘extra man’. We’re making sure that ‘extra man’ will be heard (and connected) in every corner of the country.