Vodafone, JCDecaux sign global small-cell deployment deal

Vodafone and outdoor advertising firm JCDecaux have signed an agreement for a global small-cell roll-out. Under the deal, small-cells will be deployed on street furniture and billboards in order to improve network performance primarily in urban vicinities.

The agreement is part of Vodafone’s £19 billion Project Spring investment programme, launched in November 2013, and the operator said this will extend its network reach, improve voice quality and increase data connectivity speeds.

It said benefits will be felt on both 3G and 4G, indoors and outdoors, as well as bringing time and cost savings to the operator’s network upgrading programme.

“We are delighted to partner with JCDecaux,” Kevin Salvadori, Director of Technology Strategy and Operations at Vodafone said.

“This agreement will help us accelerate the deployment of small-cell technology by giving us access to locations that in the past have not been available for network installations.”

Under the deal terms, Vodafone will install and manage the technology while JCDecaux will take care of the design and manufacture of the equipment housing infrastructure, such as bus-stop shelters. The agreement covers 14 of Vodafone’s markets: Germany, UK, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal, Australia, Qatar, Czech Republic, India, Turkey, Hungary and South Africa.* It follows a pilot in Amsterdam where small-cells were deployed at 160 sites by the two partners.

“After successful testing in Amsterdam, we are pleased to continue our collaboration with Vodafone by supporting its strategy to develop the quality of its networks,” Jean-Charles Decaux, Chairman of the Executive Board and Co-CEO of JCDecaux said.

“Connected street furniture is set to transform city life and JCDecaux is enthusiastic about contributing to these structural changes, providing lasting benefits to municipalities and citizens.”

In densely populated areas small-cells work well, especially in outdoor spaces. For indoors there may be better solutions, such as relying more heavily on wifi. With no end in sight to the constant growth of mobile data traffic, operators are being forced to invest more in technology that expands their capacity.

*Vodafone provided the exact markets where this roll-out will take place shortly after first publishing this story.

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