The trials could lead to more widespread deployment of massive MIMO technology across O2’s networks early next year

O2 and Nokia have teamed up to launch two massive MIMO trials in London, as the mobile network operator steps up its preparations for 5G. The two trials will take place in London’s Kings Cross and Marble Arch, locations which were selected specifically for their high levels of data traffic.

The pilot will make use of additional 2.3Ghz spectrum that O2 acquired in the UK’s 5G mobile spectrum auction earlier this year.    

“We recognise that customers’ need for mobile data in London and other urban areas continues to grow at a rapid pace. This is why we are working with Nokia to trial Massive MIMO and to explore the opportunities to provide the increased capacity and denser coverage for our customers, in the areas they need it most. Whether trialling 5G or ensuring the remotest parts of rural Britain can connect to 4G, O2 is committed to building a truly Mobile Britain,” said Brendan O’Reilly, CTO, Telefonica UK.  

London Kings Cross receives around 95 million visitors per year, with Marble Arch clocking up 14 million. O2 said that it selected the trial sites for their unusually high population density and data demand.

"By trialling the technology in locations with high levels of data traffic, O2 will be able to boost coverage in these areas whilst also evaluating the technology for future deployment in urban areas," said a company spokesman.  

The pilot will enhance O2’s current network capacity in London and also help to lay the foundations for the company’s move towards 5G deployment. 

"O2 will evaluate the trials with a view to potentially deploying the technology elsewhere in London and beyond to enhance connectivity as the operator continues to modernise its network in cities across the UK," the spokesperson said. 

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