As Vodafone's 4G network in the UK marks its 10th anniversary, we take a look at some of the unusual places you'll find Vodafone 4G signal and how we made it happen.
On 29 August 2013, Vodafone launched its UK 4G network. Initially going live in London, by the end of the year it had arrived in cities across the country, including Birmingham, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield.
Today in 2023, Vodafone 4G reaches over 99% of the UK population, giving customers fast and reliable data speeds as well as calls that connect quickly with crystal-clear audio quality.
To reach our customers with signal, we continue to think cleverly. So as 4G celebrates its 10th birthday, we are highlighting some of the locations where you wouldn’t expect to receive Vodafone 4G, as well as some of the unusual ways Vodafone uses to deliver it.
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. It’s hoped that masts of this kind could be the solution to bringing connectivity to signal coverage ‘not-spots’ in the UK’s most remote and inaccessible locations.
For over 100 years, the traditional phone box has been a familiar sight on UK’s streets. In recent years, they haven’t been as busy as they once were, due in part to the introduction of the mobile phone. But 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.
Technology fitted to the roof of the phone box delivers 4G within a 200-metre coverage radius, making it perfect for busy city centres. It can support seasonal locations, too, which is why it’s also been installed on phone boxes loacated at two busy beaches on the Cornish coast, Polzeath and Sennen Cove.
COWs – Cells On Wheels
What do you do when thousands of people suddenly descend on a festival, expecting the mobile phone coverage levels they receive at home? How do you ensure you have coverage in the middle of a field which, for the rest of the year, belongs to the cows? 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, visiting events such as Glastonbury, Royal Ascot, the Genesis Scottish Open Golf Tournament, Royal International Air Tattoo, Brighton Pride and National Eisteddfod of Wales.
A COW isn’t just for summer though – they will continue to visit a number of events throughout the rest of 2023, including Goodwood Revival, the PGA Golf Championship and Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland.