Vodafone 4G is continuing to spread its way across the country, so we've caught up with Vodafone UK's head of networks to find out how the rollout's going.
If you live in Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham or Sheffield, we’ve got some good news: Vodafone 4G is coming your way very soon. In fact, we’ll be flicking the 4G switch in those cities on 28 September, giving anyone with a 4G-ready phone and a Vodafone Red 4G-ready plan access to our brand new ultrafast network.
And because we’re feeling in celebratory form, we’ve got some even better news for Vodafone 4G-ready customers, too. We’ll be adding an extra 4GB of data to all existing and new customer plans.
That’s for everyone who’s already taken out a 4G-ready plan, and anyone who signs up to one between now and 31 January 2014. It means you can watch more live sport on the go with Sky Sports Mobile TV, or listen to hours and hours more of your favourite music on Spotify Premium from our great entertainment packs. Good, eh?
So, with more people soon able to get the Vodafone 4G experience and even more data to make the most of it with, we had a quick chat with Yago Tenorio, Vodafone UK’s head of networks, to see how he thinks everything’s going, and what’s going on behind the scenes…
“It’s going very well!” he says, “In fact, this has been the smoothest and best launch I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few! There’ve been no big incidents, and no major problems. As we all know, working with big, complex technology projects, this is not usually the case. There are normally one or two bumps that you can’t predict, but all of our planning and hard work is paying off and it’s great to see our customers starting to realise the benefits of our efforts!”
So, without a hitch in sight on the initial launch, how are we shaping up in terms of performance? Yago’s been flicking through the stats, and he seems pretty pleased, which is a good sign coming from a man with such high standards:
“The numbers are very competitive,” he says. “Frankly, it’s going really, really well – beyond expectations. We’re seeing a very good coverage performance out of every site, and the 800MHz band of 4G spectrum is really coming into play. That’s noticeable when it comes to how well the signal is penetrating into buildings. We’re very satisfied with how our 4G behaves in that respect.”
Practice makes perfect
With just under three weeks until the next round of 4G launches, we wanted to get a grip on what was going on backstage right now. What are Yago and his team doing to prepare?
“For the other cities, we’re following the same process as the one for London. We’re now more or less where we were one month ago with London – finalising the rollout and bringing the last number of sites on air for each of the next cities. Right now those sites are accessible only for specific engineers within our team.
“We can access the network, we can see how it works, we can stress test it and measure the performance. Then, on the night before launching the service, we’ll remove all the barriers and do the last verifications to see that everything looks as it should.”
“We’re on track for the rest of the year,” he adds. “We’ve got those five cities coming this month, and the rest following. We’re progressing well, and now we know more about the system and how it works. We’ve got more experience and we’ve had more time to do these launches, so I expect to be able to do similar, if not better, work on the other cities.”
Most importantly, though, Yago wants to stick to the launch ethos that he explained to us prior to London’s 4G launch:
“The same principles will be maintained across all our launches – we’ll only launch a 4G service when we’re sure it’s fantastic. It’s worked well for London, so we’ll do the same for every city and town from now on.”
Are you 4G-ready? You can read up on all the details of our Vodafone Red 4G-ready plans here. And stay tuned for more from Yago as our 4G network spreads around the UK.
4G subject to coverage
Speeds typically six times faster than our 3G service, based on pre-launch network, may vary due to coverage & demand.
Customers opting for the SIM only Red 4G-ready plan, starting at £26 a month, can choose to have either Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile TV included for the first six months. They are then charged at £4.99 per month for Sky Sports Mobile TV or £9.99 a month for Spotify Premium. Customers can cancel at any time and they will still get double the standard data allowance and 4G service.
Customers opting for the Red 4G-ready plan, starting at just £34 a month, can choose to have either Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile TV included for the first six months. They can then choose to continue their subscription by paying £4.99 per month for Sky Sports Mobile TV or £9.99 a month for Spotify Premium. Customers can cancel at any time and will still get their double data and 4G service.
Customers on the Red 4G-ready L plan, starting at £39, and the Red 4G-ready XL plan, starting at £44, get Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile TV included for the whole two years of the plan. At the end of the two years, they can then choose to continue their subscription by paying £4.99 per month for Sky Sports Mobile TV or £9.99 a month for Spotify Premium. Customers can cancel at any time and will still get their double data and 4G service. All Vodafone Red 4G-ready customers will be switched on to Vodafone’s 4G service when it launches. Vodafone will provide a state of the art coverage checker to ensure customers know where 4G coverage exists and where it is coming next.
Minutes to UK mobiles and landlines (starting 01, 02, 03) within the UK. Standard UK texts. UK internet. One minute minimum call charge applies. Terms apply. Subject to credit check. Prices may go up during your plan. Registration and subscription required. Compatible device required for Spotify Premium. Sky Sports Mobile TV available on selected iPhone and Android Smartphones, and will include Pack 1. Pack 1 includes Sky Sports 1 and 2 only. Content may vary from time to time. UK residents only.