O2 extends UK 5G as government as more 5G Create schemes unveiled | Mobile | News | Rapid TV News
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In what has been a red letter day for the rollout of the next-generation mobile architectures across the country, the UK’s biggest mobile network operator by customers, O2, has revealed that its 5G network now reaches 150 UK towns and cities.
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As the network provider was announcing its extension, the UK government revealed the second tranche of winning schemes in its 5G Create programme including projects designed to advance broadcasting.
O2’s new UK 5G locations now live include Bournemouth, Cheltenham, Doncaster and Southampton, while it has also has significantly increased its 5G coverage footprint in the larger cities such as London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Glasgow, Bristol and Manchester. O2 currently offers over 30 different 5G-enabled devices and says that it will continue to rollout 5G where customers need it, with urban areas receiving added coverage through more cell sites, in-building solutions and small cell deployments. It adds that will now focus now on densification to improve customer experience as O2 plans to invest more than ever before in its network.

“We are delighted with the progress of our 5G rollout and to be able to offer customers in over 150 locations the benefits of our high-speed network,” said Derek McManus, chief operating officer at O2. “Once again we are facing tough lockdown restrictions and we are focused on ensuring we meet the demand for increased network capacity and reliability to keep everyone connected during this time.”

The operator says that the announcement comes at an important time for the 5G industry with a focus on superfast connectivity at an all-time high during lockdown and as customers continue to transition to the network via new handsets. And aiming to support this is the 5G Create programme, a joint investment to the tune of £28 million from government and businesses will fund nine UK-wide projects that will seize the benefits of 5G and help British industries.

The first companies receiving funding were announced in July 2020 and the second tranche includes video and production companies. One of the successful projects is the development of a 5G AR app to create new experiences inspired by the forthcoming BBC Studios Natural History Unit landmark series The Green Planet presented by Sir David Attenborough.

O2 has been success with Project Vista which will explore how it can provide instant, multi-angle replays via smartphones during stadium events. The MK Stadium, home to Milton Keynes Dons FC, will be kitted out with driverless taxis, smart parking management and robots to help the site run more efficiently and enhance experiences for spectators and staff.

Leeds-based TV production company Candour TV will test 5G’s ability to broadcast high quality live content and transfer huge video files from a variety of remote locations, extreme terrains and weather conditions. Filmed activities will include caving in the Yorkshire Dales, sea cliff climbing in North Wales and ultra-running across Britain. The UK government says that this capability, if proven, could see 5G becoming a standard for the film production industry in the UK - not just in TV production but could also hugely benefit social media content creators, outdoor events companies, music and performance festivals and many others.