Operator aims for coverage in 50 cities by mid-2020
O2 has announced it will launch 5G in October this year, as well as which devices it is offering with the service and its financial results for the first half of the year.
The operator will turn on 5G initially in Belfast, Edinburgh, Cardiff, London, Slough and Leeds, in what it calls “key hubs”, referring to transport hubs, business areas and entertainment and sports venues.
It will then roll out to a further 20 cities by the end of the year, and then 50 by summer 2020.
The 5G-enabled devices that O2 have so far confirmed to be offering are the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which will be available to pre-order on the network from August 8, with the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G available later that month. O2 has said that further devices will be available for launch.
O2 UK CEO Mark Evans said: “5G is going to be a game changer for our country. Whether it’s for people or businesses, the power of this next-generation network is going to unlock a world of possibilities for our economy and society.
“As we switch on our network across the country, our intelligence-led roll-out prioritises the key areas in towns and cities first – the places where our customers need, and will use, 5G the most. We’re also giving our customers maximum flexibility with our industry-leading custom plans, letting people adopt 5G at a time that’s right for them.”
The towns and cities to have O2’s 5G network by the end of 2019 are: Belfast, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Bristol Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Eton, Guildford, Leeds, Leicester, Lisburn, London, Norwich, Nottingham, Reading, Slough, Stoke, and Windsor.
The additional cities to have 5G by summer 2020 are: Aberdeen, Bradford, Brighton, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Cambridge, Glasgow, Hove, Kingston, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Newbury, Newcastle, Northampton, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Southampton, Sunderland, Warrington, and Wolverhampton.
Alongside the announcement, O2 pledged to continue to invest in its 4G network.
O2 also announced year-on-year revenue and operating income increases for H1 2019. Revenue was £2.979 billion, a 5.1 per cent year-on-year increase, while OIBDA was £919 £919 million (a 6.4 per cent increase year-on-year).
The total number of customers accessing the O2 network through an MVNO reached 33.3 million at the end of June, making TelefÃ³nica UK the largest UK mobile network carrier.
Evans added that he was “pleased” by the strong first half performance.
O2 also announced the launch of its new O2 Business division on August 1, which will consolidate its B2B activity and product development sides, aiming to support business customers to use new technologies for their businesses.