Press Release | 26 Jul 2023

Vodafone enters final phase of project to future-proof the backbone of nationwide network

The future-proofed network will help Vodafone stay ahead of future data needs and capacity demands from new consumer and business applications.

  • Multi-year Redstream Evolution project to upgrade the backbone of Vodafone’s nationwide network. 
  • The future-proofed network will help Vodafone stay ahead of future data needs and capacity demands from new consumer and business applications. 
  • By moving all of Vodafone UK’s home broadband, mobile and business customers onto the same ultra-high-capacity backbone transport network, the company can improve customer experience, ensure future cost efficiencies, and further reduce the environmental impact of network operations.

Vodafone has entered the final stages of its multi-year Redstream Evolution project, a significant upgrade investment to converge all mobile, home broadband and business customers onto a single, future-proofed network.

The new, upgraded network will provide a vastly improved digital experience for all Vodafone customers. It introduces greater capacity to meet the needs of a growing customer base and the exponential growth in data consumption.

Redstream Evolution is the backbone network that transports all of Vodafone’s telephony, video, and data traffic around the UK over a superfast nationwide highway of the latest fibre optic technologies. Having previously managed three separate networks, the Redstream network will deliver a single, future-proofed, Software Defined Networking-enabled (SDN), core Internet Protocol (IP) transport network for UK consumer and business customers.

A basic guide to Vodafone UK’s network

Vodafone UK's high-speed network is state-of-the-art, the result of billions in investment over the last five years. But how do all the parts fit together?

Vodafone has now started connecting home broadband, mobile and business customers to the converged network. By converging all three services onto the same infrastructure, Vodafone can benefit from economies of scale to vastly improve customer experience and further reduce the environmental impact of network operations.

A highly scalable, high-capacity core network is critical for Vodafone to deliver on customer experience as ever-growing usage continues to dramatically increase:

  • Vodafone’s home broadband customer base has increased from 687,000 in February 2020 to 1.2 million connections in February 2023; 
  • customer mobile data consumption in the UK has increased roughly 300% between 2019 and 2023; and 
  • business customers are increasingly adopting digital and cloud-based enterprise applications, further increasing the amount of data which traverses the Vodafone network.

The rearchitecting of Vodafone’s UK transport network has been vital to ensure an optimal customer experience today, and to allow for increased data consumption in the future.

This investment means Vodafone can ensure the highest levels of customer experience as more customers join the Vodafone network and new data-hungry services are launched by businesses and developers. And due to how it has been built, adding additional capacity is now a much more simplified and automated process, allowing Vodafone to quickly react to how customers are using digital services in the future.

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer, Vodafone UK, said:

“The massive growth in data-hungry consumer apps and business services, alongside ever-increasing internet usage, simply cannot be supported by traditional approaches to network management and capacity expansion. Data is subject to the same rules as road congestion – if the transport network gets congested, we can’t get where we want to be as quickly as we want to.

Full Fibre broadband: Everything you need to know

Full fibre broadband is in the news a lot, but there are crucial differences between the types you can get. We explain what those are and why it matters.

“Redstream Evolution is a significant investment to modernise this critical link in our Vodafone network, creating a new express superhighway bringing more than enough capacity to deliver an amazing network experience for customers today, while also staying well ahead of future data traffic demands. This will be crucial as our home broadband customer base continues to grow, more of our business customers go through digital transformation programmes, and 5G and IoT usage rapidly increases the amount of data we use each day.

“Operationally, the edge-based SDN design will allow us to partially decouple the data explosion and usage growth we’re seeing from the associated capital and running costs, through better, automated network and capacity management.”

As a result of Redstream being edge-based and using Software Defined Network (SDN), Vodafone will be able to work with business customers and technology partners in new and interesting ways. 

An edge-based and SDN-enabled network is the foundation for embedding more intelligence in the network. This is important for several reasons, including improving streaming services.

With more adaptable and flexible infrastructure, content partners can host content in more strategic locations closer to the consumer, reducing the risk of buffering and lag when streaming content. It will also enable a differentiated approach to net neutrality. A greater emphasis and understanding from policy makers to ensure networks remain sustainable economically will hopefully allow us to continue to satisfy ever increasing consumer demand for data in the years ahead.

Stay up-to-date with the very latest news from Vodafone by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn and signing up for News Centre website notifications.


What is RedStream?

RedStream is Vodafone UK’s IP-based converged core network (also known as the transport network). Consisting of more than 200 core sites connected by more than 11,000 km of optical fibre and with more than 1,000 Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) -enabled aggregation nodes, the network provides converged connectivity for Vodafone’s mobile base stations, consumer broadband services and enterprise data and voice customers throughout the UK.

This blisteringly fast transmission network is split into 526 geographic aggregation zones, each around the size of Bristol or Manchester, to help manage demand for data. Many of the fibre optic cables that make up RedStream will run along telegraph poles and through underground ducts and tunnels owned by Openreach.

Built on the latest photonic technology, it is future-proofed to meet the growing demand for capacity or bandwidth.

What does adding capacity mean?

Adding capacity to a network effectively means incorporating new technology and equipment that increases the amount of data that can be transferred across the network at any single point. To ensure customers do not experience network congestion (which can cause interruption of service, buffering of streams and delays), you have to ensure there is enough capacity on the network to deal with today’s peak demand (when the most customers are going to be using digital services at the same time) as well as enough additional capacity to allow for growth of data consumption in the future.

The latter point is particularly important for several reasons:

  • Applications on end users’ devices are becoming more data rich and require greater data download/upload rates to perform to user expectations. 
  • General data consumption across the UK is increasing 50% year-on-year as more services become digital.
  • More business customers are evolving their own operations to include more digital technologies.
  • 5G will greatly improve the efficiency of data transfer between end users’ devices and mobile sites creating more demand on the backhaul and transport networks.
  • Services such as Video-on-Demand and live streaming are becoming much more commonplace.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693


Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

Registered in England No: 1471587