Vodafone UK today called on local councils to help make London’s digital network infrastructure world-beating as new, independent research shows that the company achieved the highest test score among all operators for voice and data mobile communications performance across the capital.
Vodafone would like access to at least 1,000 more sites in London to meet the soaring demand for high-speed mobile data, with usage growth of 76% in the last year, by installing new ultra-fast fibre optic links as well as the latest 4G antennas using Vodafone’s superior low-frequency radio spectrum. According to Vodafone research, London has only 2.5 mobile phone antennas per kilometre – which are largely installed on the roof of buildings – compared to Madrid, which has 6.3 per kilometre.
Vodafone is already spending around £200 million in London over 2014 and 2015 and has provided 99% 4G population coverage. It would now like to make further improvements to ensure long-term capacity requirements are met for customers and visitors but it is hampered by outdated planning laws and obstructions to gaining access to key sites such as council offices and libraries.
Vodafone UK’s chief technology officer, Jorge Fernandes, said: “Londoners are the UK’s biggest consumers of mobile data with around 90 terabytes used every day which is equal to streaming nearly 23 million average length songs. Today, we call on local councils to open their roof-tops to allow us to make London’s digital network infrastructure world-class. We are committed to the largest ever investment in London in our 30-year history and we need their help. We want to further extend our coverage indoors and out as well as ensure ample capacity to support London for the next twenty years.”
In the last year alone, Vodafone has conducted thousands of site searches, and built and upgraded around 460 sites with 4G in key locations, including the Shard and other landmark buildings, major train stations, shopping centres and sporting stadia.
Vodafone’s network investment to date is already benefitting customers in the city, a fact endorsed by the latest results from P3 – a leading independent technology consultancy. In addition to blanket 4G outdoor coverage, Vodafone has introduced High Definition (HD) Voice, WiFi Calling technology and installed 4G+ technology in more than 120 of the busiest areas in London.
Vodafone is also developing new ways to extend the depth and reach of the network such as deploying the latest small ‘pico’ cells – a miniature mobile base station – in bus stops, lamp-posts, billboards and chimneys. In addition, Vodafone has also modernised and refitted nearly 75 of its own stores with the latest technology, recently announced new concessions in Harrods and John Lewis and introduced a mobile payment system, called Vodafone SmartPass, on London transport services.
- First mast installed in Kingston-upon-Thames.
- 99% 4G London population coverage; 85% indoor 4G coverage and nearly 60% deep indoor (heart of the building) 4G coverage.
- Data traffic in London is 25% of all UK network traffic. More than 60% 4G data is in London.
- There was a spike in data usage for the General Election results.
- Total data traffic for September was equivalent to streaming 3.5 million films continuously.
Vodafone taxis and signal cars
- Vodafone pioneered network drive-by testing and has equipped Vodafone-branded London taxis with the latest testing gear to complement its own fleet of network ‘signal cars’.
- On average, one ‘signal car’ alone in London conducts the following tests:
- Uploads around 5.5 million x 1MB file attachments every year which is a standard email attachment file size for example (European measurement standard);
- Downloads more than 2.5 million 3MB attachments every year, which is a standard file downloaded from iTunes – they have a great music back catalogue.
- And views more than 250,000 30-second videos and looks at more than half a million web pages.
- Makes around 400,000 voice calls.