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Vodafone recognises importance of rural connectivity, promises £1bn investment by 2015

Thursday, May 22nd 2014 by Hannah Langston

Vodafone has promised to reach 98% of the UK population with high-speed mobile broadband by the end of 2015, offering hope to rural areas struggling to access superfast broadband.

The European mobile operator, which released its financial results on 20 May, said its core earnings will drop from £12.8bn to a range of £11.4bn to £11.9bn in 2015 due to a planned 19bn investment to boost speed and coverage across the continent, but the company remains committed to its coverage targets.

A Vodafone spokesperson told Cable.co.uk: “We recognise the importance of rural connectivity, which is why we are committed to providing coverage using 2G, 3G and 4G services to 98% of the UK population by the end of 2015.”

“We are investing more than £1 billion this year in our network and services, which comes on top of the £802m we spent acquiring the widest portfolio of mobile spectrum in last year’s 4G auction by Ofcom.”

Vodafone’s network currently boasts 90% 3G coverage but its 4G network covers just 36% of the UK. The operator told us it plans to use alternative technologies to reach rural areas: “We continue to pioneer the use of ‘femto cell’ technology and are currently working with rural communities across the UK to bring much needed 3G mobile coverage to rural homes and businesses through our Open Sure Signal project.”

Vodafone also told us it will continue to work with government on the Mobile Infrastructure Project – a £150 million scheme to bring coverage to areas not currently covered by any of the mobile network operators.

Earlier this month Vodafone announced the launch of 4G in the Berkshire village of Great Shefford, with residents claiming the network was ‘vastly outperforming the fixed broadband options’ in the area.

Vodafone’s statement comes as rival EE announced the rollout of its 4G service to over 2,500 small towns and villages in rural areas.

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