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Virgin Media O2 tests Smart Poles for enhanced mobile coverage nationwide

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In Short:

Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) has successfully deployed 4G and 5G smart poles on top of its fiber network in the UK. The trial involved installing new smart poles beside the existing national fiber network cabinets, boosting mobile coverage in busy areas. This approach reduces cost and complexity by eliminating the need for separate backhaul connection or electricity supply. The smart poles could also support smart city solutions and electric vehicle chargers in the future.


Virgin Media O2 Trials Smart Poles to Boost Mobile Coverage Across the UK
Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) announced today that it has successfully deployed 4G and 5G smart poles on top of its existing fiber network in the UK. This trial, conducted in collaboration with Liberty Global, involved installing new smart poles beside the operator’s existing national fiber network cabinets. The poles, which are smaller than traditional mobile phone masts and do not require planning permission, can be safely installed in less than a day and house small cell technology that boosts mobile coverage in busy areas, VMO2 said on Monday.

Digital Electricity Technology

Virgin Media O2 is already deploying small cells, and these additions atop the pole increase capacity to the local mobile network, reducing congestion and enhancing services for users, the company said. Through this trial, Virgin Media O2 demonstrated its ability to leverage its converged network by installing new small cells to enhance mobile capacity and connecting them to its fixed fiber network.

Benefits and Future Prospects

Additionally, VMO2 highlighted that this approach reduces cost and complexity by eliminating the need for a separate backhaul connection or dedicated electricity supply, potentially streamlining the planning process. Virgin Media O2 currently operates around 25,000 street cabinets across the UK, all connected to the National Grid and capable of powering these new smart poles, addressing the demand for mobile sites in urban areas in the future.

Looking ahead, these smart poles could also support smart city solutions and electric vehicle chargers using Virgin Media O2‘s existing duct networks.

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