Telefonica UK, which operates using the O2 brand, is now the preferred communications service provider for the south and central regions of the United Kingdom's smart meter implementation program.
This new smart grid initiative is a major national infrastructure project that will involve the roll out of 53 million gas and electricity meters across the UK by 2020. Lawmakers hope the program will help consumers better understand how they use energy so they can do so more efficiently.
Telefonica beat out many other companies for this designation, including communications major Vodafone. The new deal is worth £1.5 billion and is expected to run for approximately 15 years.
Telefonica's proposed communications solution is based on its cellular network in the UK, which the company says is ready to support the requirement of smart meters. This will be backed up by the use of mesh technology to connect meters in areas without cellular coverage.
Overall, the UK's nationwide plan for implementing smart meters is expected to cost more than £12 billion, but is expected to provide benefits worth some £18.6 billion, The Guardian reported.