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Vodafone Improves UK 4G and 5G Mobile Coverage via Manholes

Monday, December 10th, 2018 (2:30 pm) - Score 4,200
vodafone 4g 5g mobile manholes

Most of the time when a mobile operator wants to improve their network coverage then they install new base stations or small cells in high locations, such as on top of a building, mast or street light. Now Vodafone has decided to go in the opposite direction by installing small antennas “below street level.”

In this setup the operator intends to install a new range of fibre optic connected small 4G antennas (these will later be upgraded to support 5G from c.2020) underneath manhole covers. So far they’ve already installed two types of mobile-enabled manhole covers at their Newbury office and technology centre (pictured).

One of these new units is a purpose-built, reinforced unit that is similar in size to a water butt sunk into the ground, and the other uses an existing cast iron manhole cover. They can reportedly carry calls and provide fast mobile broadband access over a 200 metre radiuswithout consuming much power.”

Nick Jeffery, Vodafone UK CEO, said:

“We are committed to providing customers with the best network possible by drawing on our strengths in innovation and strong UK heritage. It is great to be able to use yesterday’s infrastructure – from phone boxes to manhole covers – to deliver the services of tomorrow. This is one of the ways we are extending our 4G services to areas other networks cannot reach, and getting ready for 5G.”

Vodafone said they’re now looking to roll-out 4G under both their own manhole covers (mostly inherited as part of the Cable & Wireless Worldwide acquisition in 2012) and those of utility providers across the UK. The operator is also fitting the roofs of traditional phone boxes with small 4G antennas, starting in Princes Street, Edinburgh.

The above method is considered useful for extending 4G in areas of outstanding beauty and remote places, where a mobile mast is difficult to install as they rely on a power supply and fibre optic cable connections.

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Mark Jackson
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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12 Responses
  1. Avatar Mike

    I guess the only difference will be their network will be literally, not just figuratively..

    [admin note: removed masked swearing]

  2. Avatar Michael V

    This is interesting. Network operators need to make use of existing infrastructure / street furniture to house cell sites.

  3. Avatar A_Builder

    Good on them for trying something different and discreet.

  4. Avatar Bob

    Private property manholes are on. I don’t think so!!!!! Desperate to get everyone ill with radiation.

    • Ill with “radiation”? We are all bathed in radiation, the vast majority of it natural, every day of our lives. A lot of that natural radiation is far more harmful than low power mobile signals, with more harm also being caused by paranoia of the latter than actual harm.

      I also shouldn’t have to mention that radiation as a word is neither good nor bad. Visible light could be described as a type of radiation and you’re bathed in that right now. Equally you’d be dead without certain types of radiation to help fuel your body and the world around you.

    • Avatar Phil

      Funny as you are using a computer or tablet device to post that message, so that’s not exposing you to “radiation” then? Perhaps it is only Vodafone’s “radiation” that makes you ill? There are other networks, O2’s signal is just oxygen hence the name, it’s pure and healthy, I suggest asking them to fit a mobile phone mast close to your home to cancel out any of the negative effects of Vodafone. The other option is a lump of quartz with magical healing powers, if you wear one close to your body 24/7 it will cancel out everything bad about mobile phones and still let you use one, and bring you good luck as an added bonus. Only £9.99 from a certain online auction store.

    • Avatar CarlT

      You ever take a flight, Bob? 4.8 mrem between London and Chicago.

      You live in Cornwall? 780 mrem per year exposure, three times UK average, due to natural radon gas seepage from the ground.

      Chest x-ray? 2-8 mrem.

      Those are ionising radiation.

      Type that on a phone? You absorb about 1,000 times the non-ionising radiation you would from a base station and there remains no strong evidence that non-ionising radiation’s impact is cumulative.

    • Avatar Jeanine Deal

      I agree, Bob. There’s already thousands of people suffering Microwave Sickness from the current cell tower infrastructure, plus “smart” meters, other transmitting utility meters, cell phones, tablets, other wireless devices, and WiFi just about everywhere.

      We have a quintillion times more man-made radiation passing through our bodies today than before the age of mobile phones… not that long ago. Radiation causes imbalances in our cells which will lead to disease. Though for some the disease doesn’t manifest for years, while others become sick right away.

      Cancer clusters happen around cell phone towers. Police officers that used radar guns, lots got prostrate cancer. John McCain had a cell tower installed on his remote ranch in AZ. He’s dead now, had a rare type of brain cancer linked to cell phone use. Same with Teddy Kennedy. And if you haven’t seen Jimmy Gonzalez on YouTube, check him out. Three cancers all directly correlated to cell phone use. And young women with no family history of cancer, getting breast cancer where they stored their cell phone in their bras. And young women and men with no family history of cancer, developing colon cancer after storing their cell phone in their back pocket for a few years. And children getting nose bleeds, headaches, nausea, dizziness and more after WiFi is installed in school, or a cell tower just outside. Man, there is so much evidence you don’t even need to read all the published peer-reviewed studies that prove it, to know that it’s true. Wireless radiation has biological effects.

      It seems like those who are naysayers often end up using juvenile names in reference to those who speak the truth. That’s a sign.

      Thanks for speaking out, Bob. The world needs more Bobs, and Jeanines.

      P.S. 100% hard-wired here, for the health of it.

  5. Avatar New_Londoner

    Clearly Voda’s CEO doesn’t need water, sewerage, electricity etc as he refers to manhole covers as “yesterday’s technology“!

    Some of the other “innovations” that he refers to are not exactly new, with phone boxes having been used to house WiFi and small cells for years. I hope he didn’t pay his research teams for these breakthroughs! 😉

  6. Avatar Kbob

    Alot of idiots called Bob on this site.

    I read that a good chunk of the new 5g masts will be placed in lampposts.

  7. Avatar Andrew

    There’s always a Bob on all of these forums isn’t there.
    Local school here in Dartington had a Voda monopole go up just outside it and parents were up in arms, pulling the kids out of school and everything. Not the slightest idea of whether it was dangerous or not, just what they’d read, brilliant!
    Power output I think is about 40 Watts.
    No one seems to be concerned about the TV transmitter a few miles away pumping out 25KW (25,000 Watts) lol
    And what about all the other mobile 2G,3G and 4G signals, AM/FM radio, DAB, Satellite, WiFi, Police/emergency services, network rail, rac, etc etc… I could go on…
    Bloody tin foil hat brigade again, pathetic.

  8. Avatar Rick

    What about health hazards and existing world wide research. What risk assesment have you done on emissions affecting living beings?

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