Vodafone UK has revealed the latest phase of its ongoing 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) rollout, with the news that five cities in the south are set to receive coverage ‘later this summer’, namely Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton and the inland town of Basingstoke. The latest expansion covers some one million people and 35,000 businesses, it said, and comes nearly a year after Vodafone switched on its LTE network in major cities, including London. The cellco reported 500,000 4G users on 17 February this year, a figure that has since climbed to 640,000 – equivalent to around 3% of its total mobile base. However, it reportedly sits in third spot behind rivals EE and O2, the former of which has more than two million 4G users on its books, and over a million for O2.
Vodafone’s summer run to the south coast comes after May’s announcement that 4G soon be live in 233 cities and towns across the country, as it works towards its goal of achieving 98% population coverage by the end of 2015, thanks to GBP1 billion (USD1.67 billion) in network investment in 2014 alone. The high speed service is also due to be launched in Swindon, Slough and York, while coverage is being expanded in existing service areas such as Glasgow and Edinburgh.