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Virgin Media O2 launch 5G Standalone

Virgin Media O2 has today announced the switch on of its 5G Standalone network in 14 cities across the UK.

Customers in the 14 locations* will be the first to access this major upgrade which brings wider 5G coverage, higher bandwidth, and improved latency.

The new network will be available to consumers with 5G Standalone compatible SIMs and devices** at no extra cost and customers will seamlessly switch between 4G, 5G or 5G Standalone to ensure they experience the best connectivity wherever they are.

Virgin Media O2’s 5G Standalone will be available in the following cities from today:

  • Manchester
  • Liverpool
  • London
  • Lincoln
  • Birmingham
  • Sheffield
  • Glasgow
  • Newcastle
  • Leeds
  • York
  • Belfast
  • Cardiff
  • Nottingham
  • Slough

Customers will need the latest software and an R15 SIM in order to access 5G Standalone, which is available on the following devices:

  • Samsung S24
  • Samsung S24+
  • Samsung S24 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 FE
  • Samsung Galaxy S23+
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy A34 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy A54 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip5 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S22
  • Samsung Galaxy S22+
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
  • Sony Xperia 1 V
  • Sony Xperia 5 V
  • Samsung Galaxy S23
  • Netgear M6
  • Samsung A25

Unlike existing 5G services which have relied on parts of the 4G network to send and receive data, Virgin Media O2’s 5G Standalone network is a completely new network built using the newest future-proofed radio infrastructure and a totally cloud-based core. Thanks to this multi-million pound investment, customers will benefit from enhanced network reliability and a larger coverage footprint.

5G Standalone will increase network capacity, cut latency, and support a massive increase in the number of connected devices. This will unlock many of the innovative use cases associated with 5G, including autonomous transport solutions, remote healthcare and fully robotic factories. It will also enable network slicing and pave the way for Virgin Media O2 to offer dedicated services for things like augmented reality, gaming, advanced robotics and other business use cases.

The 5G Standalone network also uses more energy efficient technology, helping Virgin Media O2 to cut its energy use and emissions in line with its ambitious Better Connections Plan.

The switch on of 5G Standalone follows another year of mammoth investment in Virgin Media O2’s mobile network, with the operator now providing 5G coverage to more than 50% of the UK population.

Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: The launch of 5G Standalone is the culmination of a multi-year programme and is a real leap forward in the evolution of our mobile network. While it’s still early days, our customer-centric rollout will continue throughout 2024 with some consumer customers seeing the immediate benefits including increased reliability and coverage. This new technology will future proof our mobile network for years to come and paves the way for exciting customer led innovations in the future.”

Kester Mann, director of consumer and connectivity at CCS Insight, said: “The launch of 5G Standalone is an important milestone for Virgin Media O2 as it opens the door to it offering a host of new services. Many of these are associated with the long-term vision of 5G, such as network slicing and super low-latency applications. With availability in 14 cities across the UK, many customers will already be able to enjoy the benefits of faster speeds and enhanced network capacity.”

Virgin Media O2 will be continuing its rollout of 5G Standalone to more towns and cities throughout the UK in 2024, as it continues investing in its network to improve mobile connectivity for even more of its customers. Last year, the operator upgraded its 4G network in over 465,000 UK postcodes.

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