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4G boost for UK’s biggest cities coming courtesy of Virgin Media

Folks in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bradford and Southampton will soon get a 4G shot in the arm – thanks to Virgin Media. 

The business arm of cable company has already won contracts to bring free WiFi to a number of public places across the UK and now it’s looking to combine its fibre optic backhaul with small cell technology – similar to that used by EE in the sticks – to improve urban 4G reception. 

Small cells will be installed on so-called ‘street furniture,’ – that’s industry-speak for lampposts, phone boxes, traffic lights, not this. 

Duncan Higgins, marketing director for Virgin Media Business said: “Small cell technology is a key way of tackling network capacity in built-up areas for mobile operators”.

“Increasingly people are using their mobile devices to download and stream videos; that’s why services like this are so important. By providing more capacity in city centres where we already have a large-scale fibre presence, we are able to provide a great service.” 

Despite London being one of the few places in the UK right now where you can feel the full advantage of LTE-A enabled phones, dense urban areas with tall buildings combined with a high volume of customers means network performance in the big smoke can often be pretty ropey. 

Neither Virgin Media Business or its partner in this venture Arqiva, the company that that runs Britain’s terrestrial TV masts has announced when it’ll begin beefing up 4G coverage in these six cities. 
Ahead of its expected takeover by BT, EE’s recently pledged to bring LTE-A to over 20 UK cities by 2017

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