O2 brings 5G to central London with new trial areas

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O2 has become the latest British operator to launch a 5G trial with Massive MIMO pilots in Kings Cross and Marble Arch in central London.

Fresh from the announcement of a connected car project earlier this month, O2 is working with Nokia on the project, which uses the 2.3GHz spectrum it bought in the UK's auction earlier this year.

The operator said the trial will enhance its network capacity in addition to preparing it for 5G networks. It cited Ofcom figures that claimed the average user consumes 1.9GB of data per month. Around 100 million people travel through King's Cross and Marble Arch each year.

Depending on the success of the trials, O2 said it could deploy Massive MIMO further across London or in other parts of the UK.

Brendan O’Reilly, CTO, Telefonica UK said: “We recognise that customers’ need for mobile data in London and other urban areas continues to grow at a rapid pace.

"This is why we are working with Nokia to trial Massive MIMO and to explore the opportunities to provide the increased capacity and denser coverage for our customers, in the areas they need it most."

O2 is aiming to switch on more than 1,000 5G sites by the end of this year. Within hours of it being awarded the 2.3GHz spectrum earlier this year, it activated 60 sites.

In late July, it issued a call to every company trading on the UK stock market to work with it on 5G enterprise trials, as it opened a 5G research area at the O2 entertainment complex in south east London.