Vodafone is upgrading 500 sites in London, plus M4 corridor locations, with brand new 2G/3G kit, allowing for HSPA+ download speeds of 21Mbps
Vodafone UK has embarked upon the upgrade of its entire network infrastructure in London, covering around 500 sites, and also a number of sites west of London along the M4 ‘corridor’.
The project, which started last month, is expected to run for a further two months. Vodafone said, including new site work, it is spending “well in excess of £1 million per day” on its UK network infrastructure. It said it is currently upgrading 25 sites per day, although the rate will slow in the New Year.
Rival O2 UK told Mobile News this month it was increasing its infrastructure spend in 2011 by 25 per cent, having put down more than £1 million per day through 2010.
The new Vodafone upgrade project, dubbed ‘Boudicca’, is being run by Swedish vendor Ericsson, which is responsible for all Vodafone’s 2G GSM network and the majority of its 3G UMTS network in the UK. Vodafone also works with Alcatel Lucent for some 3G infrastructure in the North of England.
The sites being upgraded – all within the North and South Circular ringroads – will have old 2G and 3G technology removed and replaced with new 2G and 3G kit, allowing for higher network capacity, better data speeds and broader coverage. The new kit will also require less space on rental sites and reduce energy emissions from them.
Ericsson said most new sites will allow for theoretic download speeds of 21Mbps in London, and 28Mbps 3.5G HSPA+ from certain sites, although Vodafone is assessing each site according to local demand and requirements.
The new housings will also allow for 4G LTE hardware and software installations in due course, said Ericsson.
The upgrade follows major work to Vodafone’s UK network in the past seven years to upgrade from 2G to 3G, and, in various increments following, from 384Kbps to new maximum download speeds of 21Mbps, and upwards in certain locations.
Ericsson said a third of the upgrade work is being carried out by engineers at night.
The project is likely to roll out to other UK urban centres in due course, although Vodafone claimed it is yet to decide on the next location of its network upgrade.