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Vodafone claims access to 1,000 new London sites obstructed

Vodafone (4)

Vodafone UK has called on local councils in London to stop obstructing it and give it access to at least 1,000 more sites in the city after mobile usage grew 76% last year.

The telco says it wants to install new ultra-fast fibre optic links and its latest 4G antennas, which use low-frequency radio spectrum. A quarter of the nation’s mobile data is consumed in London, Vodafone claims, but the infrastructure lags behind other European cities.

Vodafone’s own research suggests that London has only 2.5 mobile phone antennas per kilometre whereas Madrid has 6.3 per kilometre. It claims to have spent £200 million on infrastructure in London in 2014 and 2015 and provides 99% of the population with 4G coverage. The new infrastructure would ensure long-term capacity demands were met for customers and visitors, says Vodafone, which complains it is ‘hampered’ by outdated planning laws and obstructed access to key sites such as council offices and libraries.

Londoners are the UK’s biggest consumers of mobile data with around 90 terabytes used every day, claimed Vodafone UK’s CTO Jorge Fernandes. “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.”

Last year Vodafone conducted thousands of site searches and built or upgraded around 460 sites with 4G in locations, such as the Shard and other landmark buildings, major train stations, shopping centres and sporting stadia.

According to technology consultancy P3 Vodafone had 99% of London covered by 4G signals, which also created 85% indoor 4G coverage and nearly 60% of signals go ‘deep indoors’ (to the heart of a building). Vodafone has also introduced High Definition (HD) Voice, WiFi Calling technology and installed 4G+ technology in more than 120 of the busiest areas in London. It is also installing pico cells in bus stops, lamp-posts, billboards and chimneys.


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