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O2 announces trials at Kings Cross and Marble Arch in anticipation for 5G launch

O2 has announced that it is working on two Massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) trials at Kings Cross and Marble Arch with Nokia in order to pave the way for full deployment of 5G across the capital city. The firm chose the locations due to their high levels of data traffic; this will allow O2 to evaluate the technology before rolling it out to other urban areas.

The technology will work on 4G initially, however, Massive MIMO is a core component of 5G networks too, so they’ll be adapted for that purpose later on after they’ve been trialled. Massive MIMO sends beams of data from antennas to end user devices in a way which is supposed to help with performance and capacity of the network, allowing more users to be served by the network.

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.

Whether trialling 5G, or ensuring the remotest parts of rural Britain can connect to 4G, O2 is committed to building a truly Mobile Britain.”

O2 said it plans to use the additional 2.3GHz spectrum that it won in auction earlier this year. The firm spent a massive £205 million back in April trying to secure more 4G spectrum, and in the end, claimed the 2.3Ghz spectrum for itself.

O2 will be keen to keep up with its rivals when it comes to 5G deployment with 5G-enabled devices expected to come on the market in several months. Earlier this month, EE announced the first 16 cities in the UK that would be graced with 5G; these include London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Belfast, as well as Birmingham and Manchester.

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