O2 announced that it is working with Nokia on two Massive MIMO trials in Kings Cross and Marble Arch, aimed at enhancing connectivity for O2 customers and paving the way for the future deployment of 5G across the capital.
Massive MIMO technology works by sending multiple beams of data from an antenna to devices, increasing performance and enhancing capacity with the ability to serve more users simultaneously.
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. Over 95 million people travel through the Kings Cross St Pancras area every year and over 14 million passed through Marble Arch area last year.
The pilot uses the additional 2.3GHz spectrum that O2 secured earlier this year in the spectrum auction. O2 was the only UK network to secure extra 2.3GHz capacity to boost its existing network
In addition to enhancing current network capacity, the pilot will lay the foundation for the next-generation of mobile connectivity– 5G. Massive MIMO technology is expected to be able to help deliver the demand for increased data usage that is expected once 5G is rolled out. Demand for data has continued to increase in recent years, with the average mobile user consuming 1.9 GB a month last year.
O2 said it 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.