O2 UK Capacity Approaches

Introduction

O2 UK, once their hugely successful Mobile Virtual Network Operators' customers are taken into account, likely have the largest number of customers on their network. This presents a challenge for the network team to manage in order that a reasonable customer experience be maintained and complaints be minimised. The challenge has been compounded by their relative lack of spectrum per customer prior to their acquisition of 2300MHz spectrum. This page features the range of strategies O2 deploy to keep things moving.

London

Six Sector 4T4R + 5G 8T8R on Huawei RAN

Huawei RAN O2 UK site with the first sighting of six sector 4T4R we have seen. Huawei AMB4519R18v06 and ATD4516R8.

Well, this is a first! Huawei RAN O2 UK site with the first sighting of: O2 UK Huawei RAN, six sector 4T4R and FDD+TDD CA in the UK. A lot of firsts! The site uses Huawei AMB4519R18v06 antennas with two, four port, beams for 4T4R L18+L21+L23 and a single beam of two port low band (L08). Huawei ATD4516R8 are wired for 8T8R 5G.

Huawei RAN O2 UK site with the first sighting of six sector 4T4R we have seen. Huawei AMB4519R18v06 and ATD4516R8.

A couple of field test screenshots: one showing all the 4G carriers-L18 (1226), L21 (199), L23 (39250 and 39448) and L08 (6400); the other shows TDD and FDD CA.

O2 Huawei Massive MIMO 5G sites

Huawei 5G Massive MIMO upgrades to O2 in London.

O2 has seemingly found the light of Huawei and now cannot stop: the lower site was recently rebuilt with O2's latest Nokia architecture and has since been rebuilt again with Huawei!

Nokia Massive MIMO for 2300MHz (L23)

Nokia AANA Massive MIMO Mast

Nokia AANA Massive MIMO installation near Marble Arch. The passive panel alongside also is dual beam for L18/L21, so alongside the massive MIMO L23, this site also has six sector L18+L21 and the site near King's Cross Station has even more...!

King's Cross Massive MIMO

O2 UK Massive MIMO near King's Cross

Nokia AANA Massive MIMO pointing at King's Cross but for FDD this site has a full Commscope six sector U09+L08+L18+L21 deployment using Commscope 2CPX208R and CVV2NPX308.208R, covered below the Dual Band 4T4R L18+L21 with 8T8R L23 examples, in addition to 4T4R L23 on the other sectors.

Nokia 8T8R 2300MHz AZNC and 4T4R 1800+2100MHz (AEGB)

 8T8R 2300MHz using Nokia AZNC RRUs and Huawei ATD4516R9 antennas with spare ports for 5G and AEGB dual band 4T4R RRUs for 1800 and 2100MHz 4G 4T4R.

8T8R 2300MHz using Nokia AZNC RRUs and Huawei ATD4516R9 antennas with spare ports for 5G. AEGB dual band 4T4R RRUs for 1800 and 2100MHz 4G 4T4R through an ATR.

closeups of AZNC, AEGB, ATD, ATR

Closeups of the antennas and Remote Radios at a site like this. The tall and narrower RRUs are the Dual Banders, whereas the shorter and wider RRUs are for 2300MHz.

Six Sector FDD + 4T4R 2300MHz Examples

Full London Beacon 2 Structure only share where Vodafone and o2 have separate antennas. O2 with Commscope 2CPX208R (dual beam U09+L08) and CVV2NPX308.208R (G09+L23 4T4R+dual beam L18 and L21)

Full London Beacon 2 Structure only share where Vodafone and O2 have separate antennas. O2 has the two on the left: Commscope 2CPX208R (dual beam U09+L08) and CVV2NPX308.208R (G09+L23 4T4R+dual beam L18 and L21). The 2300MHz RRU is not visible in this example.

Full London Beacon 2 Structure only share where Vodafone and o2 have separate antennas. O2 with Commscope 2CPX208R (dual beam U09+L08) and CVV2NPX308.208R (G09+L23 4T4R+dual beam L18 and L21)

Another full London Beacon 2 Structure only share where Vodafone and O2 have separate antennas. O2 have the pair on the right: Commscope 2CPX208R (dual beam U09+L08) and CVV2NPX308.208R (G09+L23 4T4R+dual beam L18 and L21). The 2300MHz RRU is visible in this example (behind the thinner of O2's antennas - the CVV2NPX308.208R).

O2 with Commscope 2CPX208R (dual beam U09+L08) and CVV2NPX308.208R (G09+pre L23 4T4R+dual beam L18 and L21)

Photo and schematic representation of a site pre-L23 upgrade, showing where the L23 FZNJ RRUs are connected.

O2 UK Microcells

O2 UK multiple antenna Microcell mounted on a pub.

Many London Buildings, especially pubs, have O2 Microcells mounted on/above their signage. These deliver localised capacity and often have most of O2's FDD spectrum (U09, L08, L18, L21 is common) deployed on them.

Another of O2's Microcells

Another Microcell array.

O2's Nokia Flexi Zone Small Cell Poles (City of London)

Nokia Flexi Zone Small Cell poles in the city of London for O2 UK.

In the City of London, there are an array of poles with Nokia Flexi Zone Small cells for O2 L18 and WiFi APs for O2 WiFi.

O2's Spidercloud Small Cells

Spidercloud L18 Small Cells found in Mitchells & Butlers pubs.

Spidercloud L18 Small Cells found in Mitchells and Butlers pubs. These offload the in building environment.

O2's 900MHz refarm to LTE

Spectrum graph of 900MHz spectrum being refarmed to 4G.

As of April 2019, O2 has been deploying 900MHz refarmed as LTE onto some of their sites, producing O2's first six carrier 4G sites. The L09 uses EARFCN 3624, it being formed from the refarm of O2's previous second U09 carrier, UARFCN 3012.

Schematic of an O2 six carrier 4G site.

A proposed FDD schematic for one of these sites: the paired FXDBs carry GL09 and the single carries on with U09.

Historic examples

Six Sector O2 UK Mast near Bank, London, using dual beam Kathrein antennas for U21.

Six Sector O2 UK Mast near Bank, London, using dual beam Kathrein antennas for U21.