Vodafone 4G may well be speeding its way around some of the UK's biggest cities, but it's also changing lives in some of its smallest settlements, too...

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As we continue with our plan to provide coverage using 2G, 3G or 4G services to 98% of the UK population, we’re hearing some great stories about the positive difference that it’s making to people’s lives.

One such story comes from Great Shefford – a vibrant village in West Berkshire – where the introduction of ultrafast Vodafone 4G is changing the way people work, play and stay in touch. To get the full story, we’ve been speaking to Deborah Cripps and Piers Storey, two Great Shefford residents and local business owners. So how has 4G shaken things up in the village?

Deborah’s story: “I’ll definitely be upgrading”

deborah“We moved to Great Shefford six years ago,” says Deborah. “We were on a different network at the time and had no signal here at all. We went to Vodafone because we knew you could get a signal with them, and since then I’ve always had a Vodafone personal mobile. But I also run a business so I’ve got a Vodafone work phone as well – I’ve got 3G on my personal mobile, and I’ve got an HTC with 4G.”

“4G is brilliant. I tend to use Vodafone 4G to look things up or communicate instead of using the WiFi at home. I’ve got quite a big data allowance, and I use the 4G on my work phone to check Facebook, use WhatsApp and send emails as the default.”

In fact, 4G is actually outperforming the WiFi in Great Shefford: “I can always find 4G signal in places round the house where I can’t even get the WiFi, so it’s made all the difference.

“I tend to use Vodafone 4G to look things up or communicate instead of using the WiFi at home.”

According to Deborah, that great signal was especially handy during the recent period of bad weather, during which Great Shefford was hit by some serious flooding:

“The broadband signal here is quite slow and very hit and miss; sometimes the phone line and broadband drops out or we have a power cut, and when that happened in the past, you couldn’t do anything at all.

“We had floods in Great Shefford earlier this year and it was really quite difficult for a lot of us because the power went out and people were trying to message each other. A lot of people couldn’t get enough mobile data signal to get onto their social networks, but those of us on Vodafone were able to help, and to communicate with each other in the village and with the outside world too.”

“I can upgrade my personal phone in June,” says Deborah, “and I’ll definitely be upgrading my plan to 4G then.”

Piers’ story: “4G has made what I do much, much more effective”

piers“4G coming to Great Shefford is very interesting to me from both a personal and commercial point of view,” says Piers. “The main reason that 4G comes into focus for me is that I’m a part owner of a company and I often work from home. There are a lot of online services that I need to connect to on a daily basis, so I’m very dependent on a good internet signal.”

It comes as no surprise then, that following a trial run of Vodafone 4G, Piers is pretty impressed:

“The speeds I’ve seen on Vodafone 4G have been comparable to high speed broadband. I’ve borrowed the Vodafone R212 4G MiFi from a friend, and it’s made what I do much, much more effective. On DSL broadband in Great Shefford, you’ll easily max out at 3.5Mbps, which is challenging because it can limit my work. In the time that I’ve been using Vodafone 4G, it’s made a considerable difference because there’s a big jump in speed and consistency between 4G and any cable-based broadband solution here.”

Piers tells us that since Vodafone 4G is vastly outperforming the fixed broadband options in Great Shefford, he and many others in the village may soon consider switching to a Vodafone 4G for all of their internet needs…

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“As a village, we’ll be waiting another year or so before we’ll get high speed internet, so switching from a traditional LAN-based broadband provider to Vodafone 4G for the home is now a real consideration. Mobile internet isn’t really something I’d thought about using in a serious way in the past unless we’d had a major outage on the broadband network. But the difference between 3G and 4G is huge. Because of that, I think people’s general perception of using mobile internet in this way will change and mature over time, to the point where the use of mobile internet will soon be no different to standard home broadband.

“Being able to bring 4G to the village,” Piers adds, “and being able to provide a service that’s essentially the most beneficial package out there for us, puts Vodafone quite far in front of what can be provided by traditional home broadband providers. And that’s quite a big win for them and for us.”

It’s brilliant to hear 4G feedback like this, but Great Shefford is just one of the places Vodafone 4G has already landed in. To read more about our 4G rollout, and to see if you’re in a 4G-ready area, click here.

Connecting small communities… The people of Great Shefford may love their faster internet connection, but there are many small villages in the UK where the geography makes it almost impossible to get any kind of mobile signal. East Garston, just down the road from Great Shefford, was one of the first places to trial our pioneering Open Sure Signal tech and you can read all about that here.

Images via greatshefford.org.uk