Project Beacon to be complete by 2018
Project Beacon involves two competing mobile networks, Vodafone and O2, joining forces to improve your mobile experience. Far from a merge, the partnership is focusing on the physical infrastructure of the networks. Vodafone and O2 are putting their masts together, removing duplicates and creating some news ones to give you even better mobile coverage across the UK. Vodafone will be in charge of the network maintenance in the West of the UK and Wales, while O2 will be looking after the East, including Northern Ireland.
This doesn’t mean that Vodafone and O2 will be sharing signal, spectrum, fibre backbone network or services – but will mean that when they’re finished, there will be about 18,500 masts across one grid – allowing Vodafone and O2 customers to receive signal from each of the masts across the UK. This will equal a 40% increase on sites available to either network currently – but a 10% reduction in total. The partnership will also see indoor network coverage improve for both networks to keep your workforce better connected.
Unfortunately, Project Beacon was initially expected to be finished by the end of 2015 however it does now see both with a population coverage of 97 per cent, just one per cent short of the target. More than 400 base stations are upgraded monthly under Project Beacon which has a total investment of £2 million.
“We expect Beacon to be completed by the end of this financial year in December. There will be a few sites left over, which include remote areas because it’s hard to bring fibre to them. We are working on those, but we expect Beacon to be more than 99.9 per cent finished by the end of the year.” – Kye Prigg, Vodafone UK Head of Networks.
- Dropped call rates have fallen from 0.67 per cent to 0.47 per cent. This drops to 0.09 per cent in cities such as London, which it claims is better than Hong Kong and Tokyo.
- A completion date of 2015 was set – two years earlier than the Ofcom target. However, figures obtained by Mobile News at the time showed they fell short with 63 per cent population coverage.