Vodafone adds five more cities to 4G network

4G road sign

Vodafone will expand its 4G network to five more cities in the south of the country.

Basingstoke, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Reading and Southampton will all benefit from Vodafone's high-speed mobile broadband network, with more than a million people and 35,000 businesses being able to use the service.

Residents in the five cities will be able to get the service from Vodafone by the end of the summer and can choose a free gift when signing up to a 26 per month or higher tariff - either a Netflix subscription (coming in July), Sky Sports Mobile or Spotify's music service.

Vodafone CTO Fergal Kelly said: "Mobile connectivity plays a vital role in keeping communities in touch and helping to support the local economy.

"Our network improvements will ensure thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of consumers in the south of England will have a better opportunity to take part in the growing smartphone revolution."

Vodafone plans to cover 98 per cent of the population by the end of 2015 with a 1 billion investment in the upgrade.

At present, the company's 4G is available in 233 small towns and cities, but EE leads the coverage charge with 3.6 million customers across 215 large towns and cities and 2,588 smaller towns.

O2 also has 233 towns set up on its 4G, while Three has launched 4G services in Birmingham, London, Manchester and Reading. By the end of 2014, it aims to have coverage for 1.5 million customers and is offering the upgrade for free to all new and existing customers unlike any other UK mobile network.

In February, Vodafone narrowly dodged an Ofcom fine after only just meeting 3G targets set by the regulator. Ofcom imposed a deadline of June 2013 for all mobile operators to offer 3G coverage to at least 90 per cent of UK homes. Although the other operators were able to do this, Vodafone only managed to service 88.6 per cent so Ofcom extended the deadline to December and the network was forced to upgrade its masts.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.