Following a £15 million investment, O2 has now switched on its 4G network in parts of Northern Ireland including Belfast and Lisburn. The company has also committed a further £5 million towards rolling out in other areas of Northern Ireland.
The £15 million investment from O2 has allowed it to upgrade its services across Northern Ireland, which has included improvements to the current 2G and 3G network as well as introducing the new 4G network.
Derek McManus, chief operating officer of O2 parent company Telefónica UK, confirmed this saying, “I’m delighted that O2 4G has arrived in Northern Ireland. As we continue to roll out 4G across Northern Ireland, we are also upgrading our 2G and 3G networks, so every O2 customer will have an even better experience. Our customers can now experience all the exciting benefits of 4G, including local businesses who can make full use of those mobile products and services that will allow them to grow and increase productivity.”
O2 says it has already moved thousands of O2 customers that had a 4G ready handset over to 4G at no extra cost, and plans to migrate many more over the coming days. This extension of O2’s 4G network now means that it provides coverage for around 21 million UK users.
According to Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster, “The arrival of O2 4G marks another significant step forward for Belfast and Lisburn as the network promises to deliver many positive benefits to both businesses and smartphone users. And it’s even more encouraging to see that O2 has been able to utilise the skills and expertise from our local businesses to help build this new superfast network across the area.”
O2 marked the launch with a blog post including nine things readers might not know about Belfast and Lisburn including the fact that the phrase ‘last chance saloon’ originated at Belfast’s Whites Tavern and that Ireland’s linen industry was born in Lisburn in 1698.
O2 plans to spend a further £5 million on its 4G network in Northern Ireland and will have launched 4G in Londonderry by the end of the year. O2 claims to be rolling out 4G to one million people every month until it reaches its target of 28% of the population, which is expected to happen by 2017.
4G Coverage in Northern Ireland
O2 isn’t the first provider to offer super-fast mobile internet in Belfast. In 2012 EE invested around £25 million upgrading 2G and 3G services from Orange and T-Mobile, and launched 4G in Belfast on Christmas Day. Large areas of Northern Ireland already benefit from 4GEE including Lisburn and Londonderry.
Vodafone has announced that it will be starting to roll out 4G in Belfast this summer. The network is generally increasing its presence in Northern Ireland and is currently opening a new store in Enniskillen.
The increased availability of 4G will be welcome news in Belfast. The need for super-fast mobile internet provided by 4G was mentioned in the 2013 Belfast Business Survey. Two thirds (66%) of Belfast businesses stated that high download speeds are essential for the effective operation of their business.