Virgin Media O2 has extended its 5G RAN deal with Nokia for an additional three years.

The deal will see Nokia provide the operator with its Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment from its AirScale portfolio.

– O2

Virgin Media O2 stated that the deal will see it invest in its 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G networks, with the agreement covering the southern parts of the UK, including London.

Nokia will also supply the operator with its Habrok massive MIMO radios and AirScale Baseband and Interleaved Passive Active Antennas (IPAA), which are both powered by ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC) technology.

According to the vendor, it will improve the performance of Virgin Media O2's 5G network, while the equipment uses 30 percent less energy and provides a 40 percent reduction in weight and volume.

The company will also provide its single RAN solution that enables one base station to run 5G, 4G, 3G, and 2G technologies simultaneously, which will help accelerate the operator's 5G coverage rollout.

As part of the extension, Virgin Media O2 has the option of launching a pilot of Nokia’s commercial intelligent controller to demonstrate the promise of advanced 5G use cases, while Virgin may pilot 5G Cloud RAN in the future.

Virgin will be able to manage the design, deployment, and assurance of services across different network domains through Nokia's digital operations center.

"We continue to invest in our network upgrading and expanding our 4G and 5G networks to customers across the country," said Jeanie York, chief technology officer at Virgin Media O2.

"This is delivering superior connected experiences and supporting the UK’s digital transformation that will drive long-term growth. Continuing our partnership with Nokia will help us to deliver even better 5G with higher speeds and lower latency, as well as ensuring we are set up for future growth in line with our customers’ ever-evolving demands and needs," she added.