Virgin Media O2 selects Nokia for RAN deployment

Nokia has announced a new three-year agreement with Virgin Media O2, securing a deal to provide Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment from its AirScale portfolio.
Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2
Virgin Media O2 will invest in upgrading its 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks, aiming to offer better network experience to its customers. Nokia said the scope of the agreement encompasses the southern regions of the United Kingdom, including London.

Nokia will supply Virgin Media O2 with its Habrok massive MIMO radios, AirScale Baseband, and Interleaved Passive Active Antennas (IPAA). These solutions are powered by Nokia’s ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC) technology, which enhances 5G performance while optimizing energy consumption.

Virgin Media O2 will benefit from a 30 percent reduction in energy usage, as well as a 40 percent reduction in weight and volume. These improvements will minimize the impact on-site infrastructure has on the environment and expedite network deployment.

Nokia will also provide its Single RAN solution, allowing for seamless integration and simultaneous operation of 5G, 4G, 3G, and 2G technologies from a single base station. This implementation will accelerate the rollout of 5G coverage for Virgin Media O2.

Additionally, Nokia’s NetAct network management system will be employed to enhance network monitoring and management through a consolidated network view. Nokia will also offer digital design, deployment, optimization, and technical support services.

As part of the agreement, Virgin Media O2 has the option to pilot Nokia’s commercial intelligent controller, which demonstrates the potential of advanced 5G use cases. Looking ahead, Virgin Media O2 may also explore the pilot of 5G Cloud RAN, leveraging the existing cloud infrastructure for enhanced 5G wireless connectivity.

Nokia will provide its Digital Operations Center, enabling comprehensive management of service design, deployment, and assurance across different network domains. Notably, this solution includes innovative features that support network modernization and prioritize network security.

Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, expressed her thoughts on the partnership, stating that their continuous investment in network upgrades and expansion aims to provide superior connected experiences to customers throughout the country.

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks at Nokia, sees this new agreement as a testament to the trust placed in Nokia’s technological leadership. By deploying Nokia’s latest AirScale solutions, Virgin Media O2 can extend enhanced mobile connectivity to even more people, laying the groundwork for the UK’s digital transformation.