June 18, 2014

Vodafone’s 4G frequencies and what they mean to you

Vodafone 4G

Vodafone 4G slices through bricks and mortar.

Phone frequencies in general and 4G frequencies in particular can be a complicated business, especially as not all the networks are using the same ones, but Vodafone has made an attempt at explaining the frequency it uses and what that means to customers.

Blocked by buildings

One of the problems faced by any mobile network signal is getting it to pass through walls and into buildings. Having a signal travel through the unobstructed airways of the outside world is no problem, but when it’s got to get through bricks, stone and other dense materials it can be more of a challenge, and often the signal inside a house has been degraded by making it through the walls, which is why you might sometimes find you have better reception when outside than inside.

Keeping it low

Vodafone 4G

The good news is that Vodafone has a solution to this. Dan Mayer, experience manager at Vodafone’s Network Operations Centre, explains that “low frequencies penetrate buildings much better than high frequencies. Have you ever been kept awake by noisy neighbours having a party down the road? If so, you’ll know that what you can hear is the music’s heavy bass thumping through the walls. You don’t hear the high-pitched bits like the melody or the cymbals, because treble is on higher frequency.”

The same applies to mobile signal, with low frequencies penetrating buildings better than high frequencies, which is perhaps why Vodafone has opted to use the 800MHz frequency for its 4G service.

That’s the lowest spectrum band used for 4G in the UK and it’s lower than Vodafone’s 3G frequency (2,100MHz) and even lower than its 2G frequency (900MHz), so its 4G signal should be stronger in buildings than its 3G one, as well as being stronger than any higher frequency 4G signals sent out by some other networks.

It’s also a big part of how Vodafone aims to keep its promise of bringing 4G coverage to 98% of the UK population, both indoors and outdoors, by December 2015.

Find out more about Vodafone’s 4G Coverage in the UK?

  • Russ

    This makes sense as I often enjoy a much stronger Vodafone 4G signal indoors than friends/colleagues who use EE, sometimes even enjoying a decent 4G signal on Vodafone where EE customers are struggling to receive even 2G. Even my speedtest.net app results are often far better on Voda than EE.

    I think the UK 4G race is shaping up to be a ‘tortoise vs. hare’ situation. It’ll be very interesting to see the shape of things in a couple of years.