Vodafone Trials First Self-Powering Mast in the UK

Vodafone UK commenced a trial of the nation’s first wind and solar-powered mobile phone mast. The company hopes that this could be deployed across the country to boost connectivity in remote areas.

The self-powered 4G mast is located in Wales and was produced in partnership with turbine technology specialist Crossflow Energy and mobile infrastructure company Cornerstone. Vodafone claimed a major selling point is the mast’s ability to run without connection to the national electricity grid. The operator noted the mast could bridge the UK’s rural digital divide by bringing mobile and internet services to remote communities, boosting local economies, and tackling isolation.

Vodafone said that the mast can be installed without digging trenches or laying electric cables, making it easier and faster to deploy than traditional infrastructure. The mast is fitted with a Crossflow Energy wind turbine capable of generating power in light winds, solar panels, and on-site battery storage. It is also designed to be recognized and avoided by radar and wildlife, while also producing minimal sound to render it viable for sensitive natural sites. If the trial is successful, Vodafone predicts potential national deployments in areas with little or no coverage.

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