June 30, 2024

Virgin Media O2 Completes First Stage Of Shared Rural Network With UK’s Highest Mobile Mast At Glencoe

Virgin Media O2 has completed the first phase of its Shared Rural Network (SRN) rollout, bringing reliable 4G coverage to 227 rural communities across the UK. The final partial not-spot site built by Virgin Media O2 is at Glencoe Mountain Resort, which became the highest mobile mast in the UK, standing 1,108 metres above sea level.

Glencoe Mountain Resort became the 227th site to benefit from improved 4G coverage as the operator delivers its company-specific build target in time for the June 30th deadline. The mountainous site is over a kilometre above sea level, making it the highest mobile mast standing in the United Kingdom today.

While these 227 sites are controlled by Virgin Media O2, customers of Three and Vodafone are also benefitting from the operator’s extensive rollout of shared sites. Considering upgrades delivered by all operators, Virgin Media O2’s customers can now benefit from reliable 4G services in more than 300 former coverage black spots.

Glencoe became the latest site to benefit from improved mobile connectivity after Virgin Media O2 used helicopters to deliver a new 4G mast to the top of the mountain, standing 1,108 metres above sea level. The new mast will deliver reliable mobile coverage to Glencoe Mountain Resort, Scotland’s oldest ski centre, greatly improving safety and convenience for its many visitors.

The operator faced significant challenges building the remote site, with extreme weather conditions making delivery exceptionally difficult. On top of this, Glencoe is a National Nature Reserve and home to endangered species, including golden eagles and ptarmigans. Virgin Media O2 worked closely with build partner, WHP Telecoms, to overcome these challenges and deliver the site in just five weeks.

The SRN is a £1 billion joint initiative between mobile network operators and the UK Government to extend 4G connectivity to 95% of the UK’s landmass by the end of 2025. The first phase of the programme required each operator to build a set number of new and upgraded sites by the end of June to tackle Partial Not Spots. The upgrades provide customers with faster and more reliable mobile data and higher quality voice calls, transforming coverage in areas that previously suffered from patchy or slow services.

Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, said:

“We are absolutely committed to bringing reliable mobile connectivity to more rural communities and have now completed the first phase of our SRN rollout. Our 227th site at Glencoe is now the highest mast in the UK and one of the most impressive to date, standing over a kilometre above sea level and providing connectivity to the nearby ski resort. This work is vital in tackling the urban-rural digital divide that exists in the UK.”

About Building Mobile Britain

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Building Mobile Britain is a campaign created by Mobile UK seeking to work with national and local government, as well as interested industry groups to overcome the challenges we face with expanding the existing mobile networks, while also developing innovative services for customers.

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