O2 drives off with the AA

O2 today announces that it has signed a deal to provide all mobile voice and data services to the AA. The new contract is made up of around 5,500 voice connections and over 3,000 data connections, mainly used for AA’s service fleet in every corner of the UK.   With over 5,000 vehicles on the road, mobility has been the lifeblood of the AA since its inception in 1905, as such the demands from its telecoms supplier are incredibly exacting when it comes to overall network performance on coverage, resilience and speed. Tasked with not only fulfilling these organisational needs, it was also essential that the chosen supplier could confidently provide a service for members that provided real value. O2 was chosen to fulfil both requirements.   The commercial tie-up between the two companies provides a range of packages for members to set-up their mobiles for hands-free communication, as well as a substantial discount off AA membership renewal. The service is available to 4.2 million personal members through the AA Members Club’s dedicated website, www.aamobile.co.uk.   Trevor Didcock, Director of Information Systems, at the AA commenting on the deal said: “We are very pleased to be working with O2, and were impressed that they really understood the critical nature of mobile to our business, as well as the importance of growing and maintaining a loyal membership. At the AA, creating value and benefits for our members is paramount to our success and to that end O2 make an excellent partner.”     As part of the tender process O2 also needed to prove that it was up to the technical challenge of servicing an organisation like the AA. One of the biggest issues was the performance of GPRS as this is essential for managing workflow and jobs out to patrols on the road. O2 used its Network Manager for GPRS service which enables customers to measure the performance of the O2 network and to check overall network availability and latency.   Another major requirement was the resilience of the network. To ensure this O2 built a bespoke product into its core network that provided the highest level of back-up. For users this ensures that should the GPRS network become unavailable for any reason there is an automatic transfer to GSM with no loss of service. Additionally, O2 installed a two-way link into the AA data centre allowing a permanent backup connection into the AA’s VPN (Virtual Private Network).   Ben Dowd, General Manager, Business Sales at O2 UK said: “The AA is a huge win for us and we are delighted to have won it against stiff competition. In the process of putting together the tender we have worked incredibly hard to demonstrate both our technical capability as well as establishing a level of comfort with the way we operate as a brand and as a business.”