Scots cities get Vodafone 4G by Christmas

Picture: AP
Picture: AP
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EDINBURGH and Glasgow will be covered by Vodafone’s fourth-generation (4G) mobile phone network “by Christmas” after the telecoms giant unveiled its roll-out plans, including deals with Sky Sports and Spotify.

Guy Laurence, chief executive of Vodafone’s UK operations, said customers would be able to opt for a sports package – which includes football matches from the Scottish and English premierships, golf’s US PGA championship and tennis’ US Open – or a music package, giving them access to 20 million online songs.

Laurence said the music and sport services will be launched on 12 August – ahead of his 4G network being initiated on 29 August – because the options would also be made available to existing 3G customers.

He said: “The services on 3G will be good, but not perfect, whereas on 4G they will be perfect. Existing customers will be able to try them for seven days to see if they work in their areas or whether they want to wait for 4G instead.”

Laurence refused to reveal if the deals with Sky Sports and Spotify are revenue sharing or whether they are exclusive, suggesting other network operators may look at similar packages.

Vodafone aims to offer 98 per cent UK indoor coverage by 2015, with the firm claiming 70 per cent of mobile phone calls are made inside buildings.

Laurence told The Scotsman that the company would continue with its “Open Femto” project – which is installing “femtocell” mobile phone base stations in 12 remote villages – to look at ways to boost coverage in rural areas.

“How quickly that technology is rolled out will depend on how many people use the service with us,” he said.

Last month, Kinlochard in Stirlingshire became the latest community to receive the equipment, with Newcastleton in the Borders and Walls in Shetland also in line to use the devices.

More than 170 villages throughout the UK applied to take part in the programme, which aims to give 3G coverage to the 2 per cent of the UK that currently has no mobile phone coverage at all.

Vodafone said it is spending £900 million upgrading its network this year, on top of the £802m the firm spent buying its 4G licences.

London will receive 4G coverage on 29 August, with 12 cities being included by Christmas.

Vodafone is rolling out its 4G network as part of the “Beacon” joint venture with Telefonica, the Spanish telecoms giant that owns the O2 brand in the UK. O2 is also due to launch its network at the end of the month.

Everything Everywhere – the company that owns the Orange and T-Mobile mobile phone networks in the UK and which is using Hollywood actor Kevin Bacon to advertise its “EE” services – launched its 4G services in October.