Vodafone CEO: 4G reliability more important than speed and coverage

The CEO of Vodafone in the UK has taken a swipe at rival mobile networks - EE in particular - in defending Vodafone's roll-out of 4G, saying that building a strong and reliable network is more important than making headlines with speed and coverage.

Compared to EE, Vodafone has struggled to attract customers to 4G since launching it in August 2013 - its 1.4 million 4G user base is dwarfed by EE's 7.7 million. And while Vodafone 4G is at 50% coverage, EE - which had the best part of a year's head start - now offers 4G to 75% of the UK.

However, Jeroen Hoencamp reckons slow and steady will win the 4G race, and that Vodafone's focus on low-level radio spectrum frequencies, which are used to deliver 4G, means it will offer superior indoor coverage.

He also said Vodafone wouldn't say an area was covered by 4G unless you could get it everywhere, not just in a town or city centre.

"For us it's about having the strongest network," said Hoencamp. "Wherever we build 4G, we've proved that we can deliver great unbeatable 4G speeds and coverage, but it's not a race to have the highest speeds because when it comes to mobile, speed only gets you so far."

He added that most people don't know or care what 4G is, and that their main concern is the consistency and quality of the network "so that they can do what they want wherever they are".

Recent research by wireless networks authority Opensignal fails to support Hoencamp's claims though. It found Vodafone customers were only able to get 4G 38.39% of the time, compared to 50.22% for EE customers, but that it led the way when it comes to nippiness, offering an average 4G speed of 12.21Mb.

Want to know what Vodafone 4G coverage is like where you live? Type your full postcode into the checker on Vodafone's website, which will show you what coverage is like indoors and outdoors in that area.

Source: TechWeekEurope

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