back to article Vodafone boasts 200Mbps with 4G mini mast in Cornish trial

Vodafone has unveiled an eight-metre high "telescopic" 4G mast, intended to boost speeds in rural areas to 200Mpbs, following a trial in Porthcurno, Cornwall, UK. Developed in partnership with infrastructure biz CommScope, the kit is aimed at rural hotels, leisure centres, retail parks and tourist attractions. Vodafone says it …

AndrueC Silver badge

Hmmm. How did they measure that speed and what are they using for backhaul? Sticking a 4G mast in the middle of a field isn't too difficult and I'm sure you could get decent speeds to/from it. The question though is what does the mast talk to? Most people want to talk to the wider world, not just a mast ;)

"Sam Barker, senior analyst at Juniper Research, said its likely the mast will need to connect to a standard base station, 40-50 miles away"

Well..quite :-/

Steve Todd

By the look of things

They are using a full 4G base station as the backhaul. It’s more like a range extender for 4G rather than a full base station.

Mage Silver badge

Re: By the look of things

So the 200Mbps is if no-one else is using either base station and the signal is perfect. Probably also if more than one channel is bonded. You can't break the laws of physics.

Well, it's been done with MMDS and Sky Dishes, with a USB stick instead of the LNB.

So yes, it's a boast. A way of filling a blackspot, maybe for marshals at a cycle race / car rally.


Re: By the look of things

This is a 'regular' albeit smaller coverage mobile site with regular backhaul. I got 117Mbps on an S6Edge there last summer.

So it's not a boast, it's part of the future where we look at mobile sites the way that we look at pylons and telegraph poles, just part of our infrastructure street scene.

Once we can get fibre to all these locations remaining locations can either be covered by tactical higher-cost fibre or strategic radio backhaul from fibre-fed locations.

Remember that in the last 6 months we have seen plans to serve 7 million homes with fibre, and that might mean passing 10 million lampposts and telegraph poles which could be connected, and we only need to use a few % of these....


Incorrect statement, if it used self-backhauling that would only work around 4-5Km (typo?) and if fixed why would they cable past perfectly usable POPs and BTE?

Credas Silver badge

Seriously, how many places in the UK are "40-50 miles" away from an existing base station? It's either a typo, or a Juniper analyst has no idea of what the world's like outside their trendy urban bubble. Perish the thought.

JeffyPoooh Silver badge


Masts are increasingly-often connected to the Telco C.O. by fibers. YMMV.

On the other hand, I've met a new (at the time) mast that was obviously still (I'm graciously assuming temporarily) connected by POTS for voice and a dial-up link for data. Middle of nowhere, brand new mast, peak data over 3G about 5kbps. USELESS!!

A Non e-mouse Silver badge

Planning Consent

So how is this new mast reducing delays due to planning consent?

Living in a conservation area, planning consent for new masts is impossible to get.

Steve the Cynic Silver badge

Re: Planning Consent

If the picture in the article is representative, then it has the advantage of a significantly less intrusive appearance - it's more or less just a pole rather than a pole with ... stuff ... all over it. That may make it easier to get permission, AND it will be able to hide in among other poles and stuff on the same site, so it might not need permission in all cases.

Stuart Castle

Re: Planning Consent

I am no expert in planning permission, but surely it helps that that mast is considerably less invasive than existing masts, which, even assuming you don't need to build a tower to support them, still need a couple of cabinets worth of hardware nearby to contain the electronics?

After all, they do allow for building street lighting and traffic lights in conservation areas. Yes, you can argue that these are both required to ensure safety of the local population, but this arguement can also be made for providing mobile phone masts. After all, given a good mobile signal, even passersby can call 999.

Ledswinger Silver badge

Re: Planning Consent

"So how is this new mast reducing delays due to planning consent?"

Look at the picture. It's the height and shape of a streetlamp. That's going to be rather easier to get planning approval for than a lattice work tower standing two or three times as high, bristling with antenna.

Admittedly you'd still have the fact that planning authorities see their main role as impeding progress, plus that the mere mention of "mobile phone mast" instantly creates a noisy coalition of NIMBYS and tin foil hatters.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Planning Consent

The picture is a rather obvious fake.

Mage Silver badge

Re: Planning Consent

You CAN use a streetlight or electricity pole. Those also have handy electricity.

Nothing to see here (nothing new) and unless only for a few days it has no effect on planning laws. They found years ago a telescopic mast on a van or trailer can only be temporary.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Planning Consent

>Admittedly you'd still have the fact that planning authorities see their main role as impeding progress

Or, quite possibly, see their role as preventing corporations raping the countryside. Just a thought.


Re: Planning Consent

Your average council has around 50,000 lamp-posts, street signs and miscellaneous street furniture, all paid for by you, without any oversight on either where they will go, what they look like or if they are value for money.

Mobile operators have to decide the value for money by themselves, then councils will apply their view of 'what it looks like' and then block it. Where they do deploy (perhaps 50-200 per council) they pay planning fees and annual 'rates' into the Council coffers.

So who is raping the countryside, the council as 'custodians' or the corporations??


Re: Planning Consent

Re:- "So who is raping the countryside, the council as 'custodians' or the corporations??"

Councils are municipal corporations. Therefore the answer to your question is corporations are raping the country.


Don't really see what's new about this - they have a mast disguised as a flagpole just down the road from us which looks far less obtrusive, and the "fake tree" masts you can see from the M4 J12-13 blend in pretty well. Maybe the advance is the absence of a large green cabinet near the base? Also interesting to see how it will cope with West Cornwall wind gusts - the towers around there are pretty substantial for good reason!

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

"Also interesting to see how it will cope with West Cornwall wind gusts - "

I don't know, maybe exactly the same way as street lights do?

Ledswinger Silver badge

, and the "fake tree" masts you can see from the M4 J12-13 blend in pretty well.

Evidently not.

Commswonk Silver badge

Irony, Anyone?

To me it is ironic that Porthcurno, of all places, should be a not - spot for modern communications.

jms222 Bronze badge

On Free School Lane in Cambridge the electron was discovered so you'd think you'd be able to pass mobile data at a tiny fraction of the speed you can in a field in Cornwall.

Anonymous Coward
Craigie Bronze badge

Easier solution

There's a much easier solution if you live in the sticks. Just dump vodafone!

Where I live:

EE ~ 100 Mbps 4G

3 ~ 70 Mbps 4G

02 ~ who knows/cares

Voda ~ 20kbps G


Re: Easier solution

"just dump vodafone"

Good advice in any event I would say...

as soon as i can gird my loins and take some anti-stress pills as a precaution, i will get off of One Net

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Re: Easier solution

And in the post about the EE booster, you will find someone saying EE crap and Vodafone is better.

CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

Re: Easier solution

someone saying EE crap and Vodafone is better

Don't they mast-share nowadays?


Re: Easier solution

3 and EE do.

02 and Vodafone do.

ukgnome Silver badge

Re: Easier solution

What absolute tosh Craigie

I live in a rural area, a picturesque norfolk broads village and Vodafone is the only provider that gets anything close to a good signal.

There are many factors at play when it comes to mobile phone masts. If we all took your advice then the farms and forests would be a lot quieter.

Gordon 10 Silver badge

Re: Easier solution

As PT Barnum once didn't say - They are all shite some of the time.

JeffyPoooh Silver badge


200Mbps, say for example a 5GB data plan. Monthly data allocation gone in 3 minutes 20 seconds.

Here in the cold colony, my plan is 10% of that, or 20 seconds per month.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018