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Press Release | 17 Jun 2020

Vodafone connects Welsh village with UK’s first Shared Rural Network site

Vodafone connects Welsh village with UK’s first Shared Rural Network site
  • Vodafone expands coverage with first sharing deal under new Shared Rural Network initiative.
  • Devauden, a small village in the Wye Valley, Wales, is the first rural community to receive new mobile coverage under the £1bn programme.
  • The Shared Rural Network aims to make 4G available to 95% of the UK landmass.

Vodafone has expanded 4G coverage in rural Wales with the first sharing deal completed under the new Shared Rural Network (SRN) initiative. Devauden, a small village in the Wye Valley, is the first rural community to receive new mobile coverage under the £1bn SRN programme.

The Shared Rural Network is a joint initiative between Government and the UK’s four mobile network operators. The programme aims to use mast sharing on existing sites in rural areas where some, but not all providers, have coverage. It also plans to build new-shared masts to connect areas that currently have no coverage at all.

Vodafone UK Chief Executive Officer, Nick Jeffery, said: “Everyone should have mobile coverage, and everyone should have the benefit of a choice of networks.

“It is great that the industry has come together to improve coverage across the UK, and I’m proud that we’re leading the way. Our engineering team has done a great job in getting our coverage on to this site, despite the limitations of lockdown.”

photo of Vodafone UK's first Shared Rural Network mast
Vodafone UK’s first Shared Rural Network mast near the village of Devauden, Wales, brings fast and reliable 4G to the countryside community

Digital Infrastructure Minister, Matt Warman, said: “Residents and businesses in Devauden will soon be getting better mobile coverage as it becomes the first village to benefit from our £1bn deal with mobile phone companies to banish rural ‘not spots’ for good.

“Our world-leading Shared Rural Network will bring high-quality 4G coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025 and means people will benefit from a good signal wherever they live, work or travel.”

Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters MS, said: “The ability to be connected wherever you are is becoming increasingly important, no more so than under the current circumstances.

“To have the first site-sharing deal in the UK under the Shared Rural Network initiative in rural Wales is fantastic. People living in and around Devauden will now have greater choice about which provider they choose and it will help support local businesses.”

Bringing mobile and internet services to rural communities scattered across hard-to-reach parts of the country has always been difficult, and expensive. Mountains, valleys, waterways and woodlands are all barriers to building essential infrastructure. By sharing sites, Shared Rural Network will make rural coverage more cost-effective and less disruptive.

– ends –

  • Click here for more information about the Shared Rural Network.

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About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK 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).

Having made the UK’s first mobile phone call and sent the first text message, Vodafone has a history as a tech pioneer. In 2018 we made the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G, and were first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. We now have 5G in more places than anyone else, with multiple locations now live across the UK and the rest of Europe.

Today we serve more than 18 million mobile and fixed line customers in the UK, with 4G network coverage at 99%.  Our customers voted us the UK’s Best Mobile Network at the 2018 Trusted Reviews Awards – for the second year in a row. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 15 UK towns and cities through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach.

Connectivity is at the heart of what we do as it gives us a huge opportunity for good. We are using our network, products, talents and technology to help society prosper and respond to significant social and environmental issues.  Our free Digital Parenting magazine is helping families and schools across the UK to navigate the online world safely. Meanwhile, the Vodafone Foundation’s work with researchers at Imperial College is developing personalised cancer treatment using the processing power of smartphones.

We are part of Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest technology communications companies, with mobile operations in 26 countries, partnerships with mobile networks in 55 more, and fixed broadband operations in 19 markets.  As of 30 September 2019, Vodafone Group had approximately 625 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed broadband customers, and 22 million TV customers – including all of the customers in Vodafone’s joint ventures and associates.

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