Vodafone 4G 2100MHz (L21) and Vodafone 1800MHz 4G (L18)

Vodafone purchased 800MHz (2x10MHz) and 2600MHz (2x20MHz+1x25MHz) at the UK 4G spectrum auctions. The 800MHz forms Vodafone's base 4G layer, with the 2600MHz band's 2x20MHz FDD of spectrum producing high capacity for urban areas, such as Vodafone 2600MHz mast. Vodafone also own three paired blocks of 2100MHz, making up 2x14.8MHz, which was previously just used for 3G. However, it is now being rolled out for 4G in 2x5MHz and 2x10MHz configurations. In order to mediate the reduction in 3G circuit switched calling capacity, a second 900MHz 3G carrier is present in L21 areas, bearing the EARFCN 2987 (the primary 3G carrier is 2938). Vodafone also own 2x5.8MHz of 1800MHz spectrum aswell, that was previously in use for 2G in high load area. This too is being rolled out as 2x5MHz for 4G. As a result of this number of bands, Vodafone combine various bands for carrier aggregation, also known as LTE-A, to achieve speeds around, and in excess of, the 200mbps mark. To begin with we saw 800+2600 CA, but now there's a very large number of combinations, pretty much every combination of the bands 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz, such as: 800+1800+2600, 800+2100, 2100+2600 and 1800+2600 and 2100+2600. The writer of this site has personally connected to over a hundred L21 sites. The first site I pwesoanlly used L21 on was while on the M25 near Wisley. 4G 1800MHz and 2100MHz enables Vodafone iPhone 5 users to get 4G; the iPhone 5 does not support Vodafone's 800MHz 4G 'base' layer.

Example sites:

10MHz 2100MHz 4G: Site at A3/M25 near Wisley, using an LG G4

The legacy Vodafone mast with panels for 900MHz and 2100MHz. Carrying 2100MHz 4G saves the need for a panel replacement. Furthermore, many modern BTS units, such as Ericsson RUS, as used in RBS6102 cabinets, is not RAT specific, so can do 3G and 4G 2100MHz.

Field test mode is showing 10MHz of Bandwidth (2x10MHz FDD) on Band 1 (2100MHz). The Speed is rather nice too!

With 2x10MHz used for 4G, only 2x4.8MHz is left for 3G, meaning single carrier. Speeds were good, however. Note the frequency of 10687, this is the only remaining carrier frequency when running 2x10MHz as 4G. 

G-net track's information. G-NetTrack shows the Cell ID of 24. Vodafone uses 10, 20 or 30 (-0) for 800MHz and 18, 28, 38 (-8) for 2600MHz, so 24 (-4) is not unusprising, especially with the 16 (-6) for their 1800MHz 4G (below).

 

The mast used to be running with 2x5MHz as 4G, presumably as a trial. 

The speed when it was running at 2x5MHz. Quite impressive for a 5MHz carrier

 

2100MHz LTE-A: Vodafone 2x10MHz 2100MHz used in CA on an LG G5 at Clapham Junction. (2100+2600 and 800+2100)

Vodafone 4G 2100MHz +2600MHz CA, totalling 2x30MHz.

Vodafone 4G 2100MHz and 800MHz CA, totalling 2x20MHz.

 

10MHz 4G 2100MHz in Birmingham

Vodafone 4G 2100MHz using a 10MHz carrier, double the size of the 5MHz carrier of the examples below. Using 10MHz of 2100MHz for LTE leaves only 4.8MHz for 3G services

A speedtest of the 10MHz Vodafone 2100MHz 4G.

 

2100MHz 4G: Leadenhall Street on LG G4 and Lombard Street on iPhone 6S (both Central London)

The service information from an LG G4. B1 (2100MHz) is listed, as is 5MHz for bandwidth.

Serving cell info from an iPhone showing the Band 1 (2100MHz) and 5MHz of bandwidth again.

 

 

Update: Vodafone 4G 2100MHz is being deployed in London, Liverpool, Bristol, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham.

1800MHz 4G: Canary Wharf on LG G4

O2 is aggressively rolling out 1800MHz 4G to provide additional capacity as they won no high band spectrum at the 4G auction, and for 4G+.  However, Vodafone with their 2600MHz 4G spectrum makes the use of 1800MHz for 4G slightly unexpected.

B3 = 1800MHz. 5MHz of bandwidth as Vodafone has 2x5.8MHz of 1800MHz Spectrum.

G-NetTrack shows the Cell ID of 16. Vodafone uses 10, 20 or 30 for 800MHz and 18, 28, 38 for 2600MHz, so 16 is not unusprising.

Vodafone's 4G 1800MHz and 4G 2100MHz enables the Apple iPhone 5 to connect to Vodafone 4G.

Video:

 

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