Vodafone heads south in latest phase of 4G rollout, as five more cities get LTE

Vodafone is playing 4G catch up, bringing coverage to an additional one million people later this year.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Vodafone is to extend its 4G coverage to five more UK cities, including Portsmouth, "later this summer". Image: Skyearth/Shutterstock.com

Vodafone will extend its 4G network coverage to five more UK cities over the summer, claiming faster mobile network speeds will be available for one million people and 35,000 businesses.

Nearly a year after Vodafone switched on its 4G network in major cities including London, the operator is taking the next phase of its rollout to the south of England, lighting up LTE for those in Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Reading, and Southampton "later this summer".

The operator claims the rollout means it can offer faster mobile broadband to a further one million people and 35,000 businesses in the cities. The question remains though how many customers will take up the faster, but more expensive, connectivity option.

Vodafone's 4G subscriptions reached 500,000 this February — some six months after it launched its 4G network in the UK — and today it has around 640,000 4G customers. However, those numbers still mean only around three percent of its 19 million mobile customers are on 4G subscriptions.

Vodafone currently sits in third spot behind rival O2 on 4G subscriptions. O2, which shares towers and masts with Vodafone, launched its 4G network in the UK at the same time.

O2 in April said it has one million 4G customers, and its network covers a third of the UK's population.

The move south that will happen over summer follows Vodafone's May launch of 4G in the north of England, which at the time lifted its count of 4G towns and cities to 233.

Vodafone intends to cover 98 percent of the UK's population with 4G by 2015 and says it's spending £1bn on network and services investment this year.

EE, the first operator to rollout 4G in the UK, claimed it had one million 4G subscribers in September 2013 and by May this year had extended its coverage to 200 towns and cities, with 72 percent of the UK population covered as a whole.

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