September 4, 2023

Industry News: Ten things you didn’t know about Vodafone 4G

Vodafone recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of its 4G network. To mark the occasion the company has provided a look back over the last decade by revealing ten fascinating things you may not know about its coverage, its networks and some intriguing facts and firsts achieved over the decade.

All information is supplied by Vodafone UK. The full article can be found here:

1/. Self-Powering Masts

In June 2022, Vodafone switched on the UK’s first self-powering mobile phone mast in the small rural community of Eglwyswrw in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The specially designed mast provides 4G coverage, but with less reliance on the national electricity grid as it has its own solar panels, wind turbine and battery.

2/. Phone Boxes

Ever wondered how you’re getting 4G coverage in the middle of nowhere? Vodafone has been making good use of disused phone boxes to extend 4G coverage in rural areas such as Cornish beaches. Vodafone 4G kit is housed in the roof of these phone box. Vodafone has been using these iconic pieces of street furniture to supply 4G signal in locations across the UK, including London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Guildford, Harrow, Oxford, Reading and Winchester.

3/. Cells On Wheels (COWs)

What do you do when thousands of people suddenly descend on a festival, expecting the mobile phone coverage levels they receive at home? You call on COWs of course! A Cell On Wheels is just a mast mounted on a lorry trailer.

Vodafone has wheeled out its fleet of COWs more than 140 times so far in 2023. They’ve had a busy summer, providing service at events such as Glastonbury, Royal Ascot, the Genesis Scottish Open Golf Tournament, Royal International Air Tattoo, Brighton Pride and National Eisteddfod of Wales.

4/. Village Churches

Ancient churches, which have been the centre point of their community for hundreds of years, have found a modern way to support their parishioners with a much-needed signal boost. 11 rural churches across the UK are currently being kitted out with small mini mobile sites using OpenRAN technology.

Placed high on church bell towers, the shoebox-sized equipment is well-hidden. As a result, local homes, and businesses, as well as any Vodafone customers visiting the church and its local community, are now starting to receive dedicated Vodafone 4G signal. Vodafone, alongside the Church of England and Net CS, is using the latest technology to unobtrusively provide better 4G signal in rural communities.

5/. Beside the Seaside

Hidden away on a building’s roof near Newquay’s Fistral Beach is a small box which has been delivering Vodafone 4G to residents, businesses and holidaymakers for the last two years. The small cell OpenRAN technology was one of the first of its kind to go live in the UK as part of Vodafone’s commitment to using the technology to improve coverage for customers in rural and remote locations.

6/. Mini-Masts

Porthcurno beach is one of the most beautiful spots on the south Cornish coast. As you walk down the track to reach it, you may not notice a mini mast which provides 4G to residents and visitors. Standing only eight metres high, it’s less than half the height of the shortest standard mast. It blends into its environment, and, unlike traditional mobile masts, it does not require a separate technology cabinet to house the power supply and electronics.

7/. Drones

In 2020, drones connected to Vodafone’s 4G network were used to deliver medical supplies between NHS facilities on the remote Scottish Islands of Argyll and Bute.

This is just one of the ways cellular-connected drones can be used. Other examples include monitoring and responding to emergencies, tracking and protecting animals from poachers, as well as providing support during disasters, such as the fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

8/. Airports, Department Stores and Football Stadia

Whether its airports, shopping centres or stadia, the Vodafone 4G network is constantly working to meet the demand wherever people congregate. That’s why Vodafone has installed dedicated network systems in data–hungry indoor hotspots.

With dedicated Vodafone 4G equipment in these venues, not only can it deliver fast data speeds for shoppers, travellers, and fans, it can support traders with vital business tools such as ePOS (electronic Point of Sale) systems, too.   

9/. The London Underground

Following a pilot on the eastern end of the Jubilee line, Vodafone 4G arrived on the London Underground in December 2022, with Vodafone 5G not far behind in February 2023.

As a result, customers are using enough data across both 4G and 5G to post over 1.5 billion WhatsApp messages a day from an ever-growing number of station platforms and tunnels. When the roll-out is completed, all London Underground and Elizabeth line stations will have Vodafone 4G.  

10/. The World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

About 88km (55 miles) off the Yorkshire coast sits Hornsea 2, the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Since October 2022, the wind farm has had a dedicated 4G signal. As a result, the people working there can keep in contact with loved ones on the mainland. The connectivity also helps them operate and maintain the site which spans an area of 462km.

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