Vodafone has 19.7% share in the UK mobile phone market and is the 3rd largest of the mobile phone companies. Together with O2 it was one of the original mobile network operators in the UK. It operated part of the 900MHz band for their 2G coverage. It purchased a significant amount of 3G frequency bandwidth and the largest amount of 4G frequency spectrum; also the largest amount of 3.4GHz frequency in the 5G auction. Over the years it has accumulated a large amount of spectrum within which to operate it's business. This may be a sound business principal as frequency spectrum is a scarce resource.
Vodafone claims to cover 99% of the UK population for 2G / 3G / 4G. The 4G coverage is mainly standard 4G but it is building up 4G+ into the larger UK cities, London, Birmingham and Manchester. October 2018 put Vodafone in 2nd place in terms of 4G download speed (21.92mbps) and also in terms of latency 40.78ms) behind EE.
The frequencies they use are :
|900MHz||Band 8||2G + 3G|
|1400MHz SDL||Band 32||4G|
|2600MHz FDD||Band 7||4G|
|2600MHz TDD||Band 38||4G|
For 4G Vodafone uses the 800MHz band supported in more rural areas for coverage, and 2600MHz in more busy urban areas for capacity. The model that is to be mirrored in the 5G network currently being established. Additionally Vodafone uses 1400MHz SDL (Supplementary Downlink Spectrum) to enhance the downlink speed in areas of high demand. Vodafone is currently involved in a lot of re-farming, or re-allocating some spectrum from 3G to 4g (and may be later 5g) to match their capacity with demand.
Vodafone released their 5G in the UK cities on 3-July-2019, with further expansion to other UK cities later in the year; and thorughout 2020/21. This is using the 3.4GHz band. Now Spring 2021 Vodafone has more 5G spectrum in neighbour bands and plans to use some of their 900Mhz frequency to deliver 5G coverage. Vodafone will be sharing some infrastructure with O2 in rural areas thus saving cost whilst allowing for greater coverage. Additionally it is placing antennae in manhole covers in UK cities to provide the infastructure for small 4G cells that may be developed for use in 26GHz 5G as well.
Vodafone as a company have a presence on the High Street. They sell home broadband, phones and data connections to their network. Additionally they sell their own brand of IoT devices and Mobile Internet routers.
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