The UK’s largest telecoms company Virgin Media O2 has announced its network is available in all areas of the City of London as part of a pilot project using the first 5G outdoor small cells to be installed in the UK.
Connectivity infrastructure specialist Freshwave built new mobile infrastructure for the 10-site pilot that makes it shareable and capable of delivering 4G and 5G for all four mobile network operators (MNOs) in what it described as "a first for the UK".
The infrastructure to create the small cells consists of specially designed wideband antennas, cabinets and columns and large amounts of dark fibre to each cabinet. Outdoor small cells installed at street level process some of the demand for connectivity in densely populated areas such as London's City to reduce demand on the macro site serving the area including Bank, Mansion House, the Millennium Bridge and Blackfriars.
VMO2 joins EE on the pilot with fellow MNO Vodafone due to sign up in spring 2023. Freshwave said the multi-operator outdoor small cell network is the culmination of more than two years of close collaboration with all four MNOs seeking to minimise street clutter and the associated disruption during street works through the first-of-its-kind network’s shareable infrastructure.
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