12/30/2010 10:22:00 AM
Power 50 Profile: Derek McManus, COO, O2
O2’s network has improved in leaps in bounds during the past year. Under McManus’ leadership, O2 doubled its UK network spend to £2m per day as it begins to migrate iPhone 4 and dongle users onto its 900MHz spectrum band. The move follows measures introduced by Ofcom allowing O2 and Vodafone to refarm their 2G 900MHz spectrum for 3G services. McManus is determined to keep O2’s network moving, and rumours of a full network share between O2 and Vodafone won't go away.
Just over a year ago, O2 was facing heavy criticism for its network, with users experiencing frequent blackouts and coverage gaps. Then came O2’s network share deal with Vodafone and a new company set up to manage it, under McManus’ watch, called Cornerstone. But in the autumn last year, coverage problems forced O2 to implement a Network Performance Improvement Plan, with an extra £100m spend added for 2010 and £30m before Christmas. And since then, O2’s network has improved comprehensively. As data traffic surged, McManus was determined to get the operator’s network up to scratch. O2 has added 1,550 extra 3G sites across the country, from big cities through to small towns, with its coverage reaching 84% and growing. He is one of the first to admit that O2 had problems, while he has also been one of the first to do something substantial about it.