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Vodafone Expands “Ultrafast” 4G Coverage to 36% of the UK Population

Monday, February 17th, 2014 (3:35 pm) - Score 1,471
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Mobile operator Vodafone has today claimed that its new “ultrafast” (ugh the terminology..) 4G based Mobile Broadband network has managed to attract 500,000 customers within the first six months of going live and their network coverage is now reaching 36% of the United Kingdom (population).

The operator last year spent £804m to acquire a big slice of the necessary 2.6GHz and 800MHz radio spectrum bands for their 4G (LTE) network (here) and they aim to spend another £900m on upgrading the national network this year, which is being conducted alongside a network sharing deal with O2 (here).

In terms of coverage, the 4G network is continuing to expand in its launch areas of Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield (plus 80 towns and districts in and around London and the South East).

Vodafone has also started to expand its 4G coverage to a further 115 towns and districts across the UK, including parts of Gateshead, Newbury, Rotherham, Slough, Solihull, Sunderland, Stockport, Sutton Coldfield, Walsall and West Bromwich. The aim is to achieve indoor 4G coverage across 98% of the UK population by 2015.

Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of Vodafone UK, said:

It’s particularly exciting to see how the nation is embracing 4G in their everyday lives. Now people in more towns and districts can enjoy Vodafone ultrafast 4G and get closer to the action with our great entertainment packages. So, the question for even more people now is: which do you want – music or sport?

4G is also proving a big hit with our SME customers such as NearDesk and Fulham FC where high speed downloads, HD video and video conferencing are driving productivity. 4G is quickly changing the way the UK works. It’s making a huge impact on our Corporate and Public Sector customers who really see the value of 4G connectivity.”

In terms of performance, Vodafone claim that their new 4G network is “is typically 6 times faster than our 3G“, although that’s not saying much as their 3G network last year came bottom of the pack in some Mobile Broadband performance studies (e.g. RootMetrics).

Vodafone said that its 4G customers used “300Tb” (Terabits) of data during December 2013 and that the average 4G customer uses double the amount of data vs a 3G user, which is supported by the recent illustrations from their Q4 2013 results (here).

So good news.. although we do wish that mobile operators would stop re-defining terms like “ultrafast” for their own purposes. Officially the government recognises that “superfast broadband” means download speeds of “greater than 24Mbps“, while Ofcom tends to prefer 30Mbps+. But so far Vodafone’s average 4G speeds don’t appear to be exceeded that (yet), thus the “ultrafast” branding is likely to mislead. Marketing departments.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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