O2's customers are the 'winners' as Telefónica UK makes £500m airwaves investment to further strengthen its network

  • Telefónica UK (O2) wins largest spectrum share in latest auction, investing £523.6 million in 80MHz and further demonstrates Telefónica’s commitment to the UK Market.
  • The company obtained 40MHz of immediately useable spectrum (2.3GHz) and 40MHz of spectrum expected to be used in the launch of 5G (3.4GHz).
  • New 4G airwaves to be switched on for customers within 24 hours of ability to deploy

A significant milestone on the road to 5G in Britain– Telefónica UK (O2) today confirmed the successful acquisition of £523.6m worth of new mobile airwaves during the latest spectrum auction, held by Ofcom whilst achieving the lowest spend per MHz of any bidder. This significant investment is further evidence of Telefónica’s commitment to the UK.

Securing all of the available 2.3GHz spectrum in the auction will provide a significant boost to O2 customers as the company will be the only player to deploy this new spectrum in the next two years. The company has committed to an immediate deployment of these new 4G airwaves for its customers, switching them on in certain areas within 24 hours of Ofcom making them available for use.

The company also secured a major allocation of 3.4GHz spectrum which is expected to be one of the first bands available for 5G from 2020.

Telefónica UK CEO, Mark Evans said: “We have been setting the standard for loyalty and customer service in our sector. With this spectrum investment we can build on our publicly recognised Best Network Coverage, to lead the way on network reliability and service as well. The real winners in this auction are customers as O2 invests to further strengthen its award winning network. The airwaves we’ve secured allow us to further enhance our network, both now and in the future.

We’ve thrown down a major marker for our future commitment to the UK. Our investment in 3.4GHz enables us to move forward to further improve connectivity whilst boosting the economy and laying the foundations for 5G in Britain”

The allocation of 3.4GHz spectrum strengthens O2’s ability to deploy 5G infrastructure once the technical standards are agreed, building on the recent announcement of its 5G test bed at The O2 in North Greenwich and ‘5G ready’ small cells which are already deployed in the City of London and Aberdeen. This infrastructure will allow for the future delivery of critical services like telehealth and connected transport, with recent research revealing 5G services could generate £6 billion in productivity savings for the UK economy.

O2 invests £2 million a day in its network to improve the coverage and experience for all of its customers. Earlier this year Ofcom confirmed that O2 had successfully delivered 98% 4G UK indoor population coverage, a requirement of the airwaves it secured in the 2013 spectrum auction.

O2 will initially utilise its 2.3GHz spectrum in London, with other UK cities to follow in the coming months, including Edinburgh, Newcastle and Leeds.

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