The first station, the size of a briefcase, has already been installed in Southwark. The company wants to reduce its reliance on the larger masts that are usually used. The new units have been designed with and supplied by Ericsson and come complete with the three-way carrier aggregation needed to boost browsing speed when using 4G. Three-way carrier aggregation works to combine bandwidth from the spectrum range owned by Vodafone to create the boost required.
A number of other networks are already using this technology to provide a boost to 4G. Vodafone has said that the units have three times the capacity that is offered by the usual type of base station. The company has carried out a number of trials and this has led to download speeds of up to 240Mbps. Vodafone now states that these trial sites will be able to deliver download speeds of up to 700Mbps.
The CTO of Vodafone UK, Jorge Fernandes, has said that the company is always seeking to improve network coverage, but at the same time does not want to spoil the look of an area by installing masts everywhere. The smaller units are considered to be far easier to install and use very little energy in comparison to the masts. They can simply be placed on an accessible rooftop and there is no need for heavy plant like cranes.