Vodafone UK refarms block of 900MHz for 4G use; claims breakthrough on energy consumption in 5G trial

3 Sep 2021

British mobile network operator (MNO) Vodafone UK has announced it is undertaking a project aimed at making ‘the best and most efficient use of spectrum and energy resources’, with it confirming 10MHz of 900MHz spectrum that had previously provided 3G services has now been refarmed to support 4G. In a press release regarding the development the cellco said that the spectrum can be transitioned to support 5G using only a software upgrade, as customer demand grows. This contiguous block of 10MHz of spectrum has reportedly been deployed across multiple sites in London, ‘with hundreds more to follow’.

Vodafone UK claims the project to restructure and reallocate spectrum in the 900MHz band will double low-band capacity for customers, improving the 4G experience and reliability of the network. The reallocated 4G spectrum will also be complemented by deployment of Massive MIMO antenna, further enhancing customer experience. It has, however, confirmed that a ‘dedicated block’ of 900MHz spectrum will be retained for 2G and 3G services.

Separately, meanwhile, Vodafone UK reported that it has completed the first deployment of a new 5G radio that saw energy consumption decrease by a daily average of 43%, and as much as 55% at off-peak times. With this development having been carried out in partnership with Swedish vendor Nokia, the British MNO said it plans to deploy 1,500 new, low-power consumption 5G units by April 2022, suggesting that this new 5G technology will support its commitment to achieve net-zero emissions for its UK operations by 2027.

United Kingdom, Ericsson, Vodafone UK