Broadband News

Vodafone Gigafast footprint almost doubles in three months

The focus of the latest quarters Vodafone results are very much mobile centric, the one key fixed line broadband stat that we could find was them adding 50,000 fixed line connections in the quarter, giving an annual total of 193,000 and lifting the fixed line customer base to 575,000 connections.

The big news is 5G based and for those willing to buy a new handset once available in the next few weeks on 3rd July 2019 if you are in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool or London you will be able to enjoy mobile broadband using the 5G over the 3.4 GHz band. This band is not the multi Gigabit band that will be familiar from the 5G lab tests but should be a step change from the existing 4G networks, exactly how much faster only time will tell and tests in the first few months of service life may be very different to how it will feel in another ten years. How useful being able to download a season of Game Of Thrones in 2 minutes is something we are unsure of, once you can stream HD and UHD reliably the time to download episodes and seasons is really just about boasting how big something is.

The Vodafone Gigafast roll-out is absent from the results but we are sure some of the 50,000 fixed line connections will be people switching to Vodafone for the first time. Looking at our tracking of the Gigafast footprint, when the last results were published three months ago it was 25,000 premises but it has almost doubled now to 46,835 premies and if the pace of the last two weeks continues in the next month we can expect to break the 50,000 premises passed mark.

One ongoing issue for Vodafone superfast customers has been the performance of single downloads (in effect video streaming) and in previous announcements line card configuration (we believe in core or edge of network routers) was fingered as causing the problems and while we will cover the full figures later this week, the difference between single and multiple thread downloads has improved significantly with a drop of just 30.6% recorded for peak times in April 2019. This is a big improvement on the 46.6% difference seen in March. This suggests that either the line cards have had their problem fixed or other improvements have happened such as adding more capacity at various points of the network.

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