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Vodafone seeks 12 rural communities, for mobile coverage test

Mobile phone network Vodafone is looking for 12 communities across the UK to take part in rural mobile coverage trials, whilst using an innovative ‘open femto’ technology to provide connectivity including mobile internet.

These 12 trials start early in 2012 and builds on the experience already gained by Vodafone, from a pilot programme in the West Berkshire village of East Garston that has helped in providing an affordable way of getting 3G mobile internet coverage.

The trials present an opportunity for rural communities to play a role in extending mobile coverage locally, where Vodafone is looking for local politicians, communities and the Government to work with the company to improve access to the mobile internet.

The extended trial enables Vodafone to explore ways to fill these ‘not-spots’, by testing the latest version of the ‘femtocell’ technology to provide 3G signals in local areas.

Vodafone has partnered with Alcatel-Lucent to experiment with the use of other forms of infrastructure and local residential broadband projects, to support rural mobile phone coverage.

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey comments: “The Government has pledged £150m to extending mobile coverage. It is good to see Vodafone looking for innovative ways to bring mobile coverage to rural areas, anything that increases mobile coverage is to be welcomed.”

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Rob Kerr is a journalist with more than 14 years experience of news, reviews and feature writing on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show. The mobile phone world is his real passion and forte, having owned a handset as far back as 1994 where he has seen them grow from just a business tool to a necessity in everyone’s everyday life.