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Virgin to boost UK's 4G service with mini-masts in lampposts



Virgin Media has announced plans to use small mobile masts in order to boost 4G service in the UK’s towns and cities.

The ‘small cell’ technology will be placed in existing structures like lampposts and CCTV cameras and help out when buildings get in the way of good coverage.

Masts will be put up in 400,000 of these street assets in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford and Southampton and other yet-to-be-named cities.

The partnership with Arqiva will use Virgin’s fixed-line broadband capacity and could be utilised by all of the UK’s major network operators who would fork over cash in order to use them.

The mini-masts are yet to be designed, but the two companies will work together on providing the end-to-end solutions.

Read more: 5G and 4G: The future of mobile networks

Virgin Media Business’ Duncan Higgins said: “Small cell technology is a key way of tackling network capacity in built-up areas for mobile operators. Increasingly people are using their mobile devices to download and stream videos; that’s why services like this are so important. By providing more capacity in city centres where we already have a large-scale fibre presence, we are able to provide a great service.”

The scheme is similar to one being utilised by EE in order to boost its offerings in rural areas.


February 22, 2015, 8:21 pm

Curious then...

That the mobile operator Virgin Mobile UK does NOT offer these services to its customers.. hmmph

M Mouse

February 23, 2015, 9:37 am

Understand your frustration, but it's down to history.

V mobile doesn't have its own network of masts, they "piggy back" on the EE (previously T-Mobile) network {in much the same way that GiffGaff and Tesco use O2 to provide their network, Asda uses EE {prevoiusly Vodafone} and Sainsburys uses Vodafone)

While it seems logical to expect V Mobile to use the cable that V Media has in the ground and these lamp post transmitters, that would mean only 50% of the UK would get coverage {where Virgin Media has cabled} and the rest of the UK would get no V Mobile service {if they were not operating with the signals from EE masts all over}.

Of course, V Media might do a discount deal for EE as that would mean no further need for EE to expand small cell coverage, and EE {and therefore V Mobile} customers would benefit from these cell sites in the urban areas.

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