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The Olympics mobile network clampdown that wasn't

London Games to be covered by all operators, actually

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The Telegraph has reported that O2 has struck a deal requiring all corporate hospitality at the London Olympics to have an O2 contract, which would be very serious if it wasn't cobblers.

The story ran in The Telegraph on Monday, and reports that all other networks will be blocked from operating within corporate entertainment areas at the London 2012 Olympics. So anyone attending the Games on a corporate junket would have either to switch onto O2, or do without their connection. It's a big deal, or it would be if it were true.

The area around the London Games doesn't have much in the way of network coverage, having been largely industrial, so the Organising Committee is working with network operators to get shared infrastructure up and running in time for the games.

O2 told us it is working with the Joint Operators Olympic Group (JOOG) to coordinate the effort, and confirmed that it had no special deal for exclusive coverage over any part of the Olympic site.

None of the operators we spoke to believes they'll lack coverage over the whole site, including the corporate hospitality areas.

Capacity is another thing: each operator has to guess how many calls will be made from the Games, and some will no doubt underestimate while others overspend.

So where did The Telegraph's panic come from? It seems that right now O2's coverage of the (building) site is better than the competition, and some areas (notably the Media Centre) don't have great coverage from the other networks.

O2 used to own Airwave, the emergency-services network which obviously has terrific coverage across the venues, so it's possible this is some legacy of that relationship, or just that O2's rapid deployment of 3G at 900MHz is helping its building penetration.

Either way, if you're offered a junket to the games next year, feel free to take any mobile phone you like, no matter what you read in The Telegraph. ®

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