Virgin Media O2 reaches 400 U.K cities with its 5G network at end-Q1

Virgin Media O2 launched services in June 2021 as a JV between Liberty Global and Telefónica in the U.K

U.K. operator Virgin Media O2 announced that its 5G network infrastructure had reached 400 towns and cities across the country as of the end of the first quarter, the company said in its earning statement.

The telco also said that it remains on track to reach 50% population coverage of 5G services by 2023.

During the first quarter, Virgin Media O2 also said it had upgraded 4G capacity in more than 93,000 postcodes across the U.K.

The operator’s contract mobile base increased by 11,000 in Q1, while total mobile connections increased 478,000 during the period due to strong growth in IoT, wholesale and contract connections.

Lutz Schüler, CEO of Virgin Media O2, said: “The first quarter has seen us remain focused on delivering and innovating to pave the way for the rest of the year. We have started to ramp up network investments while improving our products and services with big challenger decisions like not reintroducing EU roaming fees. The delivery of fixed and mobile price rises will also support revenue growth and allow continued investment as connectivity demand continues to increase.”

“We’re pushing ahead into Q2 with the launch of Stream, our new IP-based TV proposition which evolves traditional TV bundles and offers our broadband customers a flexible and innovative way to get their entertainment whilst offering significant additional value. With Q1 showing solid financial foundations from a stabilising top line and improved profitability, we remain on track to meet our 2022 guidance,” the executive said.

In the mobile telephony segment, Virgin Media O2 ended Q1 with 24 million mobile telephony subscribers and 8.58 million customers in the IoT segment.

Virgin Media O2 launched services in June 2021 as a joint venture between Liberty Global and Telefónica in the U.K. 

Liberty Global and Telefonica had reached an agreement to merge their U.K. operations in a 50-50 joint venture in May of 2020. That same month, the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) decided to allow the proposed merger between mobile operator O2 and Virgin Media.

Last month, Samsung Electronics and Virgin Media O2 announced they have successfully completed the deployment of multiple live 4G and 5G sites in the U.K.

Samsung said that the companies also completed the first 5G data call on Virgin Media O2’s commercial 5G network, using the sites.

Field trials were jointly carried out on the sites — located in Tamworth and the Peak District, England — since the start of this year. These two trials followed successful lab tests conducted in October 2021, validating the capability and performance of Samsung’s 4G and 5G solutions on Virgin Media O2’s commercial network.

In addition, these field tests demonstrated interoperability between Virgin Media O2’s 2G/3G/4G networks and Samsung’s latest 4G and 5G solutions, and validated use of Samsung’s Dynamic Spectrum Sharing (DSS) capabilities.

Samsung provided its latest network solutions for trials — including 4G radios, 5G Massive MIMO radios and baseband units. The Korean vendor explained that the solutions cover a wide range of Virgin Media O2’s spectrum holdings including 800MHz, 2.1GHz and 3.5GHz. Specifically, Samsung delivered its 5G 64T64R Massive MIMO radios for the 3.5GHz spectrum.

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