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O2 embiggens coverage with 1,500 new network sites

O2 is beefing up its network coverage with 1,500 -- count 'em -- new network sites. Where are they going to put all those masts?

O2 is beefing up its network coverage with 1,500 new network sites. The UK's largest mobile phone company -- for now -- is opening hundreds of new sites after it was embarrassed by its 3G coverage.

The next 12 months will see O2 deliver 200 new sites in London alone. Great news for us skinny-jeaned cockerney four-quid-a-pint southern softies, but what about the more remote corners of the country, where they still wear tweed and watch Emmerdale and pay for things in shillings and guineas? Forty of those London sites will be live and transmitting teledatawaves by Christmas (that's 37 shopping days, consumers!) while there are another 1,300 sites planned for the rest of the country.

That sounds like an awful lot of new masts to throw up. It's more likely that O2 will share existing masts with other providers -- O2's parent company Telefonica signed just such a deal with Vodafone earlier this year. O2 had yet to get back to us on this point at the time of writing. Try Ofcom's Sitefinder to find sites in your area. You'll have to make the tin-foil hat yourself.

When we pointed out that the the iPhone is really rather bad at making calls, many of you responded by laying part of the blame at O2's door. O2 will certainly be keen to girdify its coverage as Orange taps and unwraps the iPhone market, with Vodafone waiting in the wings. It'll also have one eye on the forthcoming super-coverage monster that will be spawned when Orange and T-Mobile merge.

Update: O2 has told our sister site ZDNet that some of the sites will be converted 2G sites. Cheeky.