The technology behind building a customer-first network

Customers have always been at the heart of our network, and we’re always committed to understanding their real-time needs. That insight shapes how we design, build and enhance our services, with every decision we make driven towards improving the experience of our customers.

Optimising our 5G network

This focus on optimising customer experience is why, with our partner P.I. Works, we have deployed Centralised Self Organising Network (C-SON) technology into our 5G network. Very simply, this technology automates the management of the network, making it even more efficient and reliable for our customers.

At O2, we were the first UK operator to integrate C-SON into our 2G and 3G ecosystem back in 2016. And we also incorporated distributed SON (D-SON) into our network, where SON functionality is built into the network software itself, enabling even faster customer centric decisions to be made.

Our customers have been reaping the benefits of this enhanced network ever since. These improvements are enabled by SON’s autonomous intelligent capabilities, which include:

  • Load-balancing decisions: Customers are automatically moved between the 3G and 4G networks, depending on which network offers the best customer experience. This is most useful for areas where a lot of customers are trying to use the network at the same time, which can result in a frustrating experience. This will also come into play on our growing 5G network, with C-SON being able to do all this and more.
  • Energy efficiency: Smart turn-off within D-SON means that energy can be saved by dropping carriers and capacity when demand is low, and bringing them up as it increases.
  • Managing aspects of radio infrastructure: C-SON helps simplify set-up of our new cell sites, automatically organising them with all the neighbouring cell sites within the existing network. Essentially, this speeds up how quickly we can deploy new cell sites to serve our customers across the country. C-SON also automates code planning, which means individual cell sites don’t clash with any other cells in the network – helping us to avoid severe network performance issues.

A customer-focused future

C-SON alone makes a staggering 22,000 autonomous network decisions every day. Every single one is crucial to delivering a better, faster network for our customers. It means we can give them a better experience, wherever they are.

Using the most innovative technology means we can optimise our 5G network based on customers’ real-time experience. It is a vital step forward in driving improvements across our network. And it is how we know that we are giving our customers exactly what they need.

Read more about our network here.