Mobile tech brings Vodafone 4G coverage to Halkyn

Innovative mobile technology is used to enable 4G in a rural community in Flintshire.

Vodafone used OpenRAN to enable it to activate its 4G network in Halkyn.

Halkyn is the first site in the county to receive OpenRAN technology. The region has traditionally struggled to receive good quality 4G mobile coverage.

The arrival of new technology will allow customers in the community to access reliable and fast mobile Internet and calls.

The activity is part of a network modernization program aimed at improving the 4G and 5G experience for customers.

This will see Vodafone withdraw its 3G network in 2023 and replace coverage with enhanced 4G and 5G services, meaning customers in more parts of the UK will be able to access a more reliable connection through the Vodafone network.

Julia Lopez, Minister of Digital Infrastructure for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said: “Any improvement in mobile coverage is good news, but Vodafone’s pioneering use of this technology tip is particularly welcome.

“The adoption of Open RAN is crucial to our plans to reduce the UK’s reliance on a handful of vendors who build and maintain our telecommunications networks, and we encourage other operators to follow Vodafone’s lead and to deploy this technology as soon as possible.”

Andrea Donà, Network Manager for Vodafone UK, said: “This new technology is helping us bring 4G coverage to new areas.

“With OpenRAN, we can bring 4G coverage to some of our most remote and rural communities for the first time, helping to connect more people digitally and bridging the digital divide.

“As part of our network modernization program, we will continue to invest in our network across Flintshire to ensure it continues to benefit from our best network.”

OpenRAN technology enables mobile operators to build new sites more cost-effectively, with Vodafone committing to have 2,500 5G and 4G OpenRAN sites in place by 2027.

Halkyn is one of the first Vodafone OpenRAN 4G sites to go live in the UK. The Welsh Showground in Builth Wells, Powys was the first venue to use the technology and take commercial traffic in August 2020.

The announcement builds on other Vodafone initiatives to extend 4G and 5G services to rural communities. These include the Shared Rural Network, a £1bn joint initiative between the government and the UK’s four mobile network operators to extend global 4G coverage to 95% of the UK’s landmass. United by the end of 2025.

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