Features | 10 Nov 2023

Mamma Mia! Standing ovation for Vodafone 4G and small cell technology

Building masts is the obvious way to improve mobile coverage in busy locations, but what do you do when you can’t build a mast?  

How do you make sure tourist hotspots visited by millions of people each year can keep up with the demand of all those social media posts and even cope when it’s busier than normal? One solution is small cell technology, already being used across London landmark Trafalgar Square.  

Seven shoebox-sized Ericsson units, which deliver Vodafone 4G coverage, have been permanently placed on lampposts around the tourist destination by Ontix, a UK-based wireless infrastructure company working alongside Westminster City Council. Vodafone customers who attended an open-air concert this summer benefited from these clever little boxes first hand without even knowing it.    

When Trafalgar Square hosted West End LIVE, a free event which showcases top West End musicals earlier this summer, the units not only coped with a dramatic surge in mobile data demand, they also delivered amazing results. Monitoring by mobile coverage surveyors Inakalum during the event, saw Vodafone 4G network reach average download speeds of over 43Mbps. All whilst our customers used enough data across the event combined to download the complete soundtrack of a top west end musical nearly 3000 times.* 

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Cllr Geoff Barraclough from Westminster City Council commented: “Whether you’re a resident or one of our millions of visitors, we want to ensure everyone has access to a high-speed, highly-reliable mobile network whilst out and about in Westminster. We are pleased to be working alongside Vodafone and Ontix to expand Westminster’s mobile network to bring faster and more reliable mobile data downloads in the West End and beyond.” 

Ker Anderson, Head of Detailed Planning and Optimisation at Vodafone UK added; “Ensuring customers can continue to enjoy fast mobile data when thousands more people than usual pack a square, streets, stadium or a field is a challenge for all networks. For that reason, Vodafone rolled out temporary masts more than 140 times across 2023 and that’s before you look at the ongoing network investment taking place to keep up with coverage demands in stadiums, airports and shopping centres across the UK. Capacity and keeping up with customer demands is something we will keep on investing in to ensure they have the best and most reliable network we can deliver. 

As for London, in August 2023 Vodafone was named London’s Best Network by European testing company NET CHECK. So, whether it’s a busy London landmark or the local shopping centre, Vodafone’s awardwinning network is worth making a song and dance about

Vodafone celebrates London's Best Network Award with showstopping OOH wrap of Marble Arch

The advertising on Marble Arch helps support English Heritage's conservation of the central London landmark.

*Based on Spotify Unlimited/Premium 160kbps song download. Average length of song of 3.30min. Average 20 songs per West End soundtrack. 

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