Vodafone UK has developed a mini mobile antenna designed to look like a bird box in order to boost coverage in rural areas without ruining its aesthetics.
The Vodafone bird box, developed in partnership with NET Coverage Solutions, picks up signals from nearby mobile masts and uses repeater technology to amplify them and improve indoor network performance.
The unit has been designed to look like a bird nesting box so that it blends into rural surroundings, Vodafone said.
It is currently being tested in a garden in Wiltshire, UK.
Vodafone is currently looking at ways of minimising the impact of its Rural Open Sure Signal (ROSS) service rollout, which aims to bring mobile access to the UK’s more remote regions.
Vodafone’s ROSS system boxes, for example, have been designed to blend into the exterior walls of buildings.
Last September, the operator revealed it was working with the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and the Countryside Alliance to encourage more communities to apply to the scheme.
Pedro Santos, Vodafone UK’s Lead Technical Engineer, said: “We take great care about the visual impact our systems have on the beautiful country side. A standard external mobile antenna can look out of place situated on or near a rural cottage so we are always looking at clever ways to ensure they blend in to the surroundings.
“The Vodafone bird box is working well and no birds have been sufficiently fooled to try to get in to it, although the customer says it looks very convincing.”