Ericsson will continue to work with O2 to extend the reach of its 5G radio access network (RAN) in the UK. O2 launched its initial 5G network in October, and will now be moving to the western part of the country to update its existing 2G, 3G, and 4G infrastructure.
As it did with O2’s original 5G network, Ericsson will be providing both the hardware and the software for the expanded network. The Ericsson portfolio includes multiband and wide-band 5G radios in addition to basebands that have been optimized for 5G.
“We are pleased to be moving forward with Ericsson as one of our primary vendors for our 5G rollout,” said O2 CTO Brendan O’Reilly. “Telecommunications has never been more important in keeping the country connected, and we look forward to bringing the enhanced capabilities of 5G to our customers.”
The full 5G network will eventually reach cities and towns in all areas of the UK, which means it will cover Wales, Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland. O2 and Ericsson will also create a collaborative innovation cluster that will test new 5G solutions. The technology developed in the cluster could allow O2 to switch to standalone 5G architecture somewhere down the line.
“5G will be crucial for the UK’s economic recovery and underpin its digital future,” said Ericsson Europe and Latin America President Arun Bansal. “We are committed to ensuring that the UK achieves its gigabit connectivity targets so that enterprises and society at large benefit from high quality connectivity.”
Ericsson has steadily expanded its 5G network during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has already launched 40 5G networks in 22 different countries, and has made recent inroads in Canada and Hong Kong. CEO Börje Ekholm, meanwhile, has argued that reliable communications networks are essential for those battling the ongoing crisis.