News | 26 Mar 2024

Here to a-moo-se: Vodafone COWs coming to 2024 special events

Vodafone gears up to make 2024 another great year for mobile signal coverage at special events across the country.

Vodafone has confirmed it will be deploying temporary mobile phone masts at special events across the UK over 2024.  

Some of the UK’s best known and largest events, from music festivals and agricultural shows to leading events in the sporting calendar, will see the masts. Known as ‘Cells on Wheels’ (COWs), they will be wheeled onto site to deliver an outstanding network experience and to cope with the extra demand expected on the network.   

With over 120 deployments planned, Vodafone’s fleet of COWs will be kept very busy throughout the year. Some events will receive more than one unit, depending on terrain, the size of the event area and estimated number of attendees.

Moo-sic festivals 2023: how COWs made a summer of strong signal

Ensuring special events, from Glastonbury to the Henley Regatta, get mobile signal requires a fleet of special equipment, planning ahead by a year and eagle-eyed monitoring.

The season started at Cheltenham Race Festival in March. Compared to last year, overall data usage at Cheltenham increased by nearly 10%, with 35% of all data carried over 5G.

In September 2023, Vodafone revealed that 5G data usage at special events was rapidly increasing, with customers using 80% more 5G data in 2023 compared to 2022. One of the busiest was Glastonbury 2023 where Vodafone deployed nine COWs. Over 168 terabytes of data was consumed across the event. Elsewhere, the King’s Coronation saw COWs being placed around Hyde Park and Buckingham Palace. Data usage increased by around 90% compared to a typical Saturday in the capital. 

Andrea Dona, Vodafone’s Chief Network Officer in the UK, said: 2023 was a particularly busy year for our special event deployment team and our 2024 calendar looks equally as busy. The challenge is always to ensure we can continue to deliver our most reliable network, so our customers never miss an opportunity to share their event experience with their friends and loved ones. Our special event team are the best in the business. So, through the careful planning and deployment of our COWs, we’re prepared for that challenge.” 

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