O2 has announced a two-year programme to boost the 3G data and video services going across its network.
O2 has signed a multi-million pound technology contract with Siemens to roll out IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) solutions across its enterprise and consumer business.
IMS will allow O2 to deliver instant messaging and instant video services to customers, and will support its push-to-talk service, a walkie talkie-like system that allows a caller to speak to groups of people at the same time.
IMS delivers "presence" capabilities that allow users to see who is active on the network before they contact them by voice, video or text.
The Siemens IMS solution, called IMS@vantage, can be used with any packet-based mobile access technology such as GPRS or 3G and in conjunction with fixed networks and wireless LANs.
IMS@vantage enables functions such as single sign-on registration, authentication, session set-up, security and unified billing across a range of applications, and is designed to offer fast deployment of new services with significant operational cost savings compared to piecemeal service roll-outs.
O2 is aiming to fully roll-out IMS within two years, along with 3G HSDPA (high-speed downlink packet access) technology which can deliver multimedia speeds of at least 3.6mbps.
After trials on the Isle of Man, HSDPA technology will be rolled out on the UK mainland, but timings have still not been confirmed by the company, despite O2 announcing this solution last year.