Vodafone UK says it is extending its advertising tie-up with outdoor advertising company JCDecaux, including striking a new agreement that will allow the cellco to install small cell 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) base stations at the latter’s billboard locations. The deal mirrors a similar set-up in partnership with JCDecaux in Amsterdam (see below), which will reportedly now be rolled out across the UK – primarily in built-up areas. In essence, Vodafone’s small cells are a network of LV relay transmitters with a maximum radius of up to a few hundred metres, it said. Vodafone director of technology and strategy, Kevin Salvadori, said: ‘We are delighted to partner with JCDecaux. This agreement will help us accelerate the deployment of small cell technology by giving us access to locations that in the past have not been available for network installations.’ However, it must be noted that the initial deployment is not capable of supporting LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology or carrier aggregation (CA) – although this is expected to follow in future.
The UK small cell rollout forms part of a deal Vodafone Group has signed with JCDecaux for the global deployment of small cells on billboards and street furniture to improve network performance. The move follows a successful pilot in Amsterdam where more than 160 LV small cells (i.e. radio access nodes) were installed on JCDecaux bus shelters, enhancing the network quality of Vodafone Netherlands’ infrastructure. Under the agreement JCDecaux will design and manufacture the equipment while Vodafone will be responsible for its installation and management; the operator claims the technology will provide faster 3G and 4G connectivity, improve indoor and outdoor coverage and increase efficiency when upgrading networks. The deployment is part of Vodafone’s GBP19 billion (USD29.8 billion) Project Spring investment programme, on which, Kevin Salvadori, commented: ‘This agreement will help us accelerate the deployment of small cell technology by giving us access to locations that in the past have not been available for network installations.’ JCDecaux has more than 100,000 street furniture assets across Vodafone markets in Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal, Australia, Qatar, Czech Republic, India, Turkey, Hungary and South Africa.