Together with their mobile coverage service partner, Net CS, and in partnership with the Church of England, Vodafone has commenced the installation of state-of-the-art 4G technology in 11 church bell towers across the United Kingdom.
This initiative aims to provide robust and dependable Vodafone 4G connectivity to rural residents, businesses, and visitors.
These church towers are being equipped with inconspicuous, compact boxes that deliver a 4G signal covering a radius of 500 meters.
In rural areas, mobile connectivity continues to play a crucial role in supporting local economies. However, securing planning permission for traditional mobile masts, especially in rural settings, can be challenging. OpenRAN offers a novel approach to constructing mobile sites that are smaller, lighter, and more energy-efficient, making them ideal for deployment in rural and remote communities.
Vodafone’s adoption of OpenRAN technology has expanded 4G signal quality for rural communities in the UK. By embracing OpenRAN, Vodafone is extending mobile coverage to previously underserved areas, contributing to the reduction of the digital divide in the United Kingdom.
Vodafone achieved a significant milestone by activating the first live OpenRAN site in the UK in August 2020, with hundreds of communities set to benefit from this technology by 2027.
Additionally, in December 2022, Vodafone introduced OpenRAN technology on mobile masts in Exmouth and Torquay, marking the first urban deployment of OpenRAN in Europe.
Andrea Dona, Network and Development Director at Vodafone UK, stated, “Churches are typically tall structures, situated on elevated terrain, and in close proximity to the communities we aim to connect. This makes them ideal locations for installing mobile sites, and now we have developed technology that is compact enough not to disrupt the appearance of these churches.
Our objective is to employ this cutting-edge technology to enhance mobile coverage in as many rural areas as possible. This represents a significant step toward ensuring that rural communities can enjoy the full benefits of mobile connectivity.