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Vodafone UK Tells London – Give us Access to your Rooftops for 4G

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 (1:02 am) - Score 998

Mobile operator Vodafone has called on London’s many councils to help them gain access to the roof-tops of 1,000 buildings across the capital, which would enabled them to deliver improved coverage of the latest 4G (LTE) based mobile broadband and voice services.

The operator has already seen their network usage grow by 76% this year (data traffic in London is 25% of all UK network traffic and more than 60% of their 4G data is in London), but their coverage around the city is still far from perfect. One way to solve that would be to install new fibre optic fuelled 4G antennas on additional rooftops.

Apparently London has only 2.5 mobile phone antennas per kilometre (km), which compares with 6.3 per kilometre in Madrid (Spain), and yet their plans to install more are being hampered by “outdated planning laws and obstructions to gaining access to key sites, such as council offices and libraries“.

Jorge Fernandes, Vodafone’s CTO, said:

Londoners are the UK’s biggest consumers of mobile data with around 90 TeraBytes used every day, which is equal to streaming nearly 23 million average length songs. Today, we call on local councils to open their roof-tops to allow us to make London’s digital network infrastructure world-class.

We are committed to the largest ever investment in London in our 30-year history and we need their help. We want to further extend our coverage indoors and out as well as ensure ample capacity to support London for the next twenty years.”

Vodafone claims to have already spent around £200 million in London between 2014 and 2015, which has so far provided 99% population coverage for their latest 4G (LTE) services. Sadly this falls to 85% for indoor coverage and just 60% for deep indoor (i.e. heart of the building).

More capacity and coverage will be needed in order to keep up with demand and that’s where today’s demand could make a real difference. The operator has already built and upgraded around 460 sites with 4G in key locations, including the Shard and other landmark buildings, major train stations, shopping centres and sporting stadia etc.

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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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4 Responses
  1. DTMark says:

    I would have hoped that, if serious about this, Vodafone would seek a real USP by implementing a p-Cell “mesh” style solution to give people in the capital enough bandwidth to make flawless video calls everywhere and to provide a real fixed-line killer, as opposed to just putting a few 4G transmitters on some buildings.

    It’s high time Vodafone did something interesting and became, well, relevant..?

    1. Matthew Williams says:

      I thought Vodafone had already said they were deploying micro cells ?

  2. mrpops2ko says:

    It’d be great if they threw some kind of incentive to it (other than improved reception) – maybe something like slashing bandwidth costs by 90%. Then 4G would actually be useful. I can’t do much with 4gb of bandwidth, but if that was 40gb maybe we could be looking at something.

    I loved Three / the 3g network expansion mainly because providers were offering unlimited data plans – to me the mobile phone industry with regards to data allowances have become regressive rather than progressive.

  3. Meh.. says:

    I’m not sure of the terms Vodafone propose but I’m a resident of a block of flats somewhere in London and we (the other owners and I) have become our own [building] management company.. so I’m familiar with the terms under which Vodafone rent our roof space for their antennas.. and they’re a little pathetic.. and every year they keep dropping and dropping the price they want to pay. We’re ready to tell them to get stuffed.
    They’re probably trying to pay a pittance to councils also and claim it’s of social importance.

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