Vodafone is rolling out Ericsson’s new compact antenna to bring greater 5G capacity, coverage and performance to locations across the U.K. The Ericsson AIR 3218 combines a radio unit and antenna in a single unit. It can also transmit mobile data over all of the frequencies that Vodafone currently uses in the U.K., without needing additional antenna units, as was the case for previous models.
The combined multiband, Massive MIMO design makes it easier for the operator to add more capacity to a mast without increasing its footprint. It’s also easier to mount on rooftops, towers, walls and poles.
“5G is the UK’s digital future, but we should never underestimate how difficult it is to deliver a future-proofed network at scale across the length and breadth of the UK. Working in partnership with Ericsson, we are constantly exploring new ways to accelerate this transformation, and this is another example of where innovation is delivered through collaboration,” said Ker Anderson, head of Radio and Performance at Vodafone UK, in a statement.
Ericsson noted that the Interleaved AIR 3218 is powered by the latest Ericsson Silicon technology. It also uses beam-through technology where an arbitrary active antenna can be placed behind the passive antenna, reducing the overall footprint in terms of size, weight and wind load.
So far, they’ve calculated a 30% reduction in site acquisition and build time based on results from the first five sites where deployment has already been completed. The AIR 3218 is expected to be deployed across 50 sites within the Vodafone UK network in 2023.