Vodafone now covers 50% of UK population with LTE

Vodafone UK said its LTE network now covers around 50 per cent of the UK population, meaning that the operator is moving closer to its goal of achieving indoor LTE coverage of 98 per cent of the population by the end of 2015.

The operator is still well behind market leader EE, which last week reported it had reached population coverage of 80 per cent. However, Vodafone UK's CEO Jeroen Hoencamp claims that "the way in which we're switching 4G on in each city, town and district" sets the company apart from rivals.

"It's not about who's got the most coverage," Hoencamp said. "It's more about having the strongest signal…We only turn 4G on when we have built or updated enough sites."

Although operators frequently boast of advances in data speeds as they roll out LTE and increasingly LTE Advanced networks, Hoencamp also said that building 4G is "not a race" to have the highest speeds: "When it comes to mobile, speed only gets you so far," he said.

He stressed that users need to have something extra to justify having (and perhaps paying for) that extra speed.

"We could build a network just to achieve massive speeds, but the reality is that you don't currently need anything beyond 20 Mbps on a mobile device," Hoencamp said. "We think less about absolute speed and more about using that bandwidth to enable more customers to enjoy great content on the move, even in the busiest places and at the busiest times."

Like many companies within the Vodafone Group, Vodafone UK has typically focused on inclusive content within its 4G plans to entice users, rather than relying on higher speeds and the "4G" moniker alone.

In the UK, the Vodafone Red 4G plans include a choice of Now TV, Spotify Premium or Sky Sports Mobile TV, for example.

"Many customers don't know what 4G is," Hoencamp added. "Many customers don't care what 4G is. All customers want is consistency, so that wherever they go they have strong signal, so that they can do what they want wherever they are."

For more:
- see this Vodafone UK blog

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