Industry Updates

'SAMENA Daily' - News

Virgin Media O2 activates 5G SA network in the UK

Virgin Media O2 has announced the activation of its 5G Standalone (SA) network in 14 cities across the U.K.

In a release, the telco said its 5G SA network is already available in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Lincoln, Birmingham, Sheffield, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, York, Belfast, Cardiff, Nottingham and Slough

The new network will be available to consumers with 5G SA compatible SIMs and devices at no extra cost, the carrier said.

Virgin Media O2 said its 5G SA will increase network capacity, cut latency and support a massive increase in the number of connected devices. This new network deployment will also enable new use cases associated with 5G, including autonomous transport solutions, remote healthcare and fully robotic factories. It will also enable network slicing and pave the way for Virgin Media O2 to offer dedicated services for services like augmented reality, gaming, advanced robotics and other business use cases.

Virgin Media O2’s mobile network currently provides 5G coverage to more than 50% of the U.K. population.

Jeanie York, CTO at Virgin Media O2, said: “The launch of 5G Standalone is the culmination of a multi-year program and is a real leap forward in the evolution of our mobile network. While it’s still early days, our customer-centric rollout will continue throughout 2024 with some consumer customers seeing the immediate benefits including increased reliability and coverage.”

Virgin Media O2 also noted it will be continuing its rollout of 5G SA to more towns and cities throughout the U.K. in 2024.

The telco recently reported it had added a total of 46,600 customers in the mobile segment last year, while fixed and broadband subscribers grew by 31,300 and 63,800 respectively. The total mobile base grew to 44.9 million in full year 2023, with 211,200 net additions supported by growth in contract and IoT segments and partially offset by wholesale and prepaid, the carrier said.

Virgin Media O2 had 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.