Vodafone is deploying Ericsson’s briefcase-sized radio units across London in a bid to overcome prohibitive planning laws.
The UK operator held a trial of the mini base station in Southwark, central London. The unit is half the size and weight of a standard piece of radio kit and offers three times the capacity.
Vodafone said the hardware, which was first launched last year, speeds up the rollout of a 4G network as engineers can literally carry the equipment up a flight of stairs to install.
It added it is also looking at different types of antennas and small cells to ensure it can meet the capacity demands of its customers.
According to the latest research from RootMetrics, Vodafone is third among the UK’s four operators for network performance in London.
Vodafone said an issue is the UK’s 30 year old planning laws. It is calling for them to be updated as well as for less obstruction to accessing key sites.
Both companies have also combined 800MHz, 1.8GHz and 2.6GHz in a trial of tri-band carrier aggregation, which saw download speeds of up to 240MBps. Vodafone said it wanted to push that towards 700MBps with further trials.
Vodafone UK’s Chief Technology Officer Jorge Fernandes said: “We continue to look at new and innovative ways of providing improved mobile coverage in order to meet our customers’ soaring demand for mobile data and video while minimising disruption to the general public and improving the aesthetics of the surrounding area.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Ericsson, one of our key network suppliers, on this project and look forward to further engaging with local councils and Government to look at ways of reducing red tape around site planning for mobile mast installations.”
Meanwhile, Ericsson has demonstrated backhaul speeds of 5.7GBps over one carrier in a joint trial with Ooredoo Oman.
The trial involved Ericsson’s E-Band radio, the Mini-Link 6352. The vendor said the demonstration showed how microwave could provide an efficient backhaul solution for operators.