O2 enters UK 5G battle - Mobile World Live

O2 enters UK 5G battle

17 OCT 2019

O2 UK introduced a range of potentially innovative pricing packages, as it became the latest operator in the market to launch commercial 5G services.

The operator pledged it will not charge a premium for 5G plans after lighting its network in Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Slough and Leeds. In a statement, it said coverage would be extended to 20 towns and cities by the year-end, and 50 by mid-2020.

Its initial focus for the network is on highly populated areas including railway stations, shopping centres and sports stadiums, areas O2 UK CEO Mark Evans (pictured) explained would “benefit customers and businesses the most”.

Monthly plans are customisable, with subscribers offered options around the data allowance, length of contract and upfront device costs. SIM-only plans start from £25 per month with 5GB data, and unlimited minutes and text.

Evans tipped the technology to “revolutionise the way people and businesses use mobile connectivity, unlocking huge possibilities for our economy and society”.

The operator is offering four 5G smartphones: the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G; Galaxy Note 10+ 5G; Galaxy A90 5G; and the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G.

Consumers who bought the latest iPhone 11, Pro or Pro Max with a 90GB tariff or more will be offered a trade-in option in 2020, when Apple is expected to introduce its first 5G smartphone.

Businesses can also access 5G speeds with a bolt-on to current contracts.

O2’s 5G network was built using equipment from Ericsson and Nokia.

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PP Foresight analyst Paolo Pescatore told Mobile World Live “O2’s move to unlimited data tariffsso quickly is a worry”.

“This is a challenge to all operators and possesses considerable financial pressures given the further investment needed in acquiring spectrum and building the 5G network,” he added.

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Manny Pham

Manny joined Mobile World Live in September 2019 as a reporter based in London. He has previous experience in telecoms having worked for B2B publication Mobile News for three years where he climbed up to the position of Features Editor....

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