UK mobile provider Vodafone is reportedly working alongside Swedish telecoms manufacturer Ericsson in a bid to roll out a new design for its latest round of mini mobile masts that it hopes will provide a boost to its 4G coverage across the country.
The compact design of these masts mean they are able to fit into the size of a briefcase, while also providing plenty of power in terms of improving mobile broadband coverage.
The first mobile mast site has been set up in Southwark, London, with the company set to test its performance over the course of the next month before rolling it out across the rest of the city.
According to a report in the Financial Times, the design carries the same capacity and functionality as other larger cellular sites, but uses less power and is significantly cheaper to install.
Because of its portable design, engineers will be able to carry the equipment to a rooftop to install the unit without the need for costly specialist equipment, allowing for much faster set-up times.
The move is part of Vodafone's £2 billion bid to improve its network and services across the UK as it looks to take its 4G services to 86 per cent of the UK population.
Better planning processes needed
Both Vodafone and Ericsson are also reportedly working on three-way carrier aggregation, which will aim to combine the operator's 800MHz, 1.8GHz and 2.6GHz spectrum in a bid to deliver speeds of up to 240Mbps.
The potential service, which would be marketed as '4G+’, would aim to offer better voice quality in high density areas among other benefits.
Vodafone UK's chief executive officer Jorge Fernandes said: “We continue to look at new and innovative ways of providing improved mobile coverage in order to meet our customers’ soaring demand for mobile data and video while minimising disruption to the general public and improving the aesthetics of the surrounding area.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Ericsson, one of our key network suppliers, on this project and look forward to further engaging with local councils and Government to look at ways of reducing red tape around site planning for mobile mast installations.”
The development is likely to suit Vodafone, which has long been a critic of planning rules, which it says have held back its efforts to improve network coverage and quality, citing over-complicated regulations and a lack of access to suitable sites.
While impending changes to the Electronic Communications Code (ECC), could help alleviate some of these concerns, this is certainly seen as a move in Vodafone's favour.