O2 has added £100m in additional
network spend over the next year, after admitting pressures in areas with a
‘high concentration of smartphones’.
The operator is in the process of implementing
a Network Performance Improvement Plan, which includes £30m additional spending
for Q4 this year, rising to £100m in 2010. It has also brought forward 40 new
site builds, to be delivered in London
between now and Christmas.
A team of O2 technology senior
managers and a board level steering committee have been put in place to drive
the plans and the operator has chosen vendors and suppliers.
O2 attributed the pressures on its
network to a growth in data use, particularly in areas with a high concentration
of smartphone users. It said: ‘We have a small number of “hotspots” where
customers may have lower levels of service than they expect.
‘Typical symptoms include calls
going straight to voicemail, dropped calls or difficulty in establishing a data
Activity detailed in the plan
includes: upgrading cell sites and accelerating investment in areas of high
data usage; building additional sites (a total of 200 extra in London by Christmas 2010 and 40 before the
end of November 2009); growing its fixed network; and growing its access data
O2 chief technology officer, Derek
McManus, said: ‘World class smartphones have brought about an unprecedented
demand on mobile data networks. Data on our network has increased 20-fold in
the last year alone. As a result, we have recently experienced some isolated
pressures in London
where there is the highest concentration of smartphone users.
‘In the last two years we have invested
£500m in our network. We are now aggressively accelerating our network growth
programme, increasing our spend by hundreds of millions over the next few years
to ensure we build significant headroom for the future.’