Virgin Media O2 has announced a massive boost to its 4G and 5G mobile network, with a focus on rural and tourist hotspots, ahead of what’s to be a record staycation summer for the UK. The announcement follows new research commissioned by the network, conducted by YouGov found that 57 percent of Brits are planning to holiday in a remote area of the UK for a staycation this year.
Strengthening 5G coverage
Delivering a 4G boost in 31,300 postcodes this year already and upgrading almost 600 cell sites at the nation’s favourite tourist destinations and seaside areas since last summer including Bognor Regis, Bath, Falmouth, Plymouth, Cambridge and Stirling, Virgin Media O2 has also continued to roll out its O2 5G network. The network says it’s focusing on strengthening its 5G coverage in towns and cities while introducing the next generation network to tourist hotspots such as: Edinburgh Castle, Bournemouth Pier, Tynemouth King Edwards Bay and Llandudno West Shore.
A range of museums and galleries, including the V&A Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Natural History Museum, the Mary Rose Museum, York Castle Museum and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery will also benefit from new outdoor 5G connectivity.
“After a year like no other, we know how important it has been to stay connected. That’s why we’re committed to providing our customers with reliable connectivity all across the UK – as shown by our £448m investment on newly released spectrum – to increase capacity in our network and power the technology of the future, as well as spearheading the Shared Rural Network,” said Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2.
“Whether you’re a holidaymaker heading off for a sunny staycation, a rural business or someone living and working in a remote area, we’re doubling down on 4G to ensure network capacity is deployed where it’s needed most. The numbers speak for themselves, with over 31,300 postcodes receiving a 4G network upgrade this year, hundreds of tourist hotspots boosted and a real focus to improve our 5G experience where people need it most,” continued York.
Peak hour data has doubled
In the first week of May, as lockdown eased, Virgin Media O2’s network carried approximately 55% more peak hour data than it did in the same week last year. The network also carried the most amount of data traffic ever to support the all English Champions League Final in May.
Happily, the improved 4G network and expanded 5G network comes just in time for the summer holidays, as the appetite to stay connected will remain. Virgin Media O2 say their research shows 23 percent of Brits plan on posting about their staycations live on social media using 4G and 5G phones, and 32 percent of holidaymakers are planning to keep in contact whilst out and about with friends and family.
Connecting ‘nomadic’ workers
Virgin Media O2’s latest polling also showed that as well as holidaymakers, homeworkers, workers, especially those in rural areas, will benefit from it’s boosted connectivity. The research showed that 1 in 5 workers are considering a ‘nomadic working’ break this summer where they will work remotely whilst travelling or at a location out of their home. “The rollout and improvement of the mobile network in rural areas of the UK is especially important to support this group of flexible workers,” said Virgin Media O2, in a press statement.
Following Ofcom’s 5G Spectrum Auction in spring, Virgin Media O2 now has more low band spectrum than any other network in the UK, providing the opportunity to potentially have the largest 5G coverage footprint in the UK.