Vodafone Turned On by ‘Self-Powering’ Mobile Phone Mast

"This self-powering mobile phone mast, with on-site battery storage, could help us connect places that were previously impossible to reach. It will also help us reduce carbon emissions and minimise our impact on local environments."

Someone is certainly excited as Vodafone has switched on the UK’s “first live” wind- and solar-powered mobile phone mast in Pembrokeshire, Wales. 

Vodafone says the mast will provide 4G coverage to the community of Eglwyswrw. The company also reckons the mast could help the race to net zero and bring connectivity to ‘not-spots’ in remote and rural areas.

Andrea Dona, Chief Network Officer and Development Director, Vodafone, explains: “Connectivity is vital to everyone, no matter where you live. This self-powering mobile phone mast, with on-site battery storage, could help us connect places that were previously impossible to reach. It will also help us reduce carbon emissions and minimise our impact on local environments.”

The innovation is merely a trial. It will run in partnership with Crossflow Energy and mobile infrastructure partner Cornerstone for two years. After which, Vodafone will determine which sites are most suitable for ‘self-powering’ masts.

  • Some things come to an end – read the story ‘Vodafone to Phase Out 3G by 2023’ here

As Which? notes, in the UK there are four major mobile providers, all of whom are household names when it comes to mobile networks.

EE is the largest with around 32 million customers, O2 comes in next with 24 million customers, Vodafone sits third with 17.5 million customers, while Three – owned by a Hong Kong-based conglomerate – has approximately 9.9 million customers.

When Vodafone’s other customers in ‘not-spots’ can end their frustrations with poor coverage is unfortunately a few years away… or maybe never if they don’t get on Vodafone’s list of suitable sites.

According to Vodafone, the specially designed mast, “which potentially removes the need for a connection to the national electricity grid”, is part of the industry’s target of 95% of UK landmass coverage by 2025.

The mast incorporates a Crossflow Energy wind turbine that can generate power “even in light winds”. The mast can be installed without the need to dig trenches and lay electricity cables.

With many firms keen to be seen to be green, Vodafone also confirmed that every area of its business in the UK – including its network, data centres, retail stores and offices – is now 100% powered by electricity from renewable sources, such as wind, solar and hydro.

Image courtesy of Vodafone. Photo by Alexander Viner.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK. He has 18 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.

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