SWINDON’S economy could receive a welcome £100m boost over the next five years after Vodafone selected the town as one of the first in the country to roll out its new 4G mobile phone service.
From May 22, the improved mobile internet, which is about six times faster than 3G, will be available to Vodafone customers with smartphones in Swindon, ahead of those in Bristol, Oxford and Reading.
Independent research from Capital Economics highlights Swindon’s potential growth as a result of the cutting-edge technology.
It says consumers are likely to have more faith in the town’s businesses and companies.
Business leaders hope other firms will now see Swindon as an attractive location to get services from or be based thanks to the increased reliability for remote working provided by the internet service.
Heydar Faramarzi, the president of Swindon Chamber of Commerce , who previously worked for international telecom firm AT&T, said: “This is fantastic news, it is good for consumers, business owners and employees.
“It is a great vote of confidence that a big company like Vodafone wants to bring this to Swindon ahead of places such as Bristol and shows we are a location for businesses to prosper.
“This will hopefully attract companies looking to expand and move to new places as internet speeds will be one of their criteria when assessing where to move.
“These days we are a society on the move so the speeds will help a lot with those that work out of office and even people looking to buy things online, as the service will be so much more reliable and quicker.”
The benefits of 4G will make web browsing, streaming, file transferring and accessing emails easier in the office or on the move.
The improvements are part of a £1bn investment by Vodafone to improve mobile internet speeds across the country.
Excalibur, a company which provides phone and IT services to businesses, has been campaigning for improved mobile internet services in Swindon.
James Phipps, the chief executive officer of the company, which is based in Stonehill Green, said: “We’re really pleased that we have played a part in Vodafone launching 4G in Swindon.
“It’s a positive step towards our town becoming one of the best in the south west to run a business.
“As one of Vodafone’s largest UK partners, with a 20-year trading relationship, we are committed to working to supply seamless and solid coverage across the south west.
“Swindon has suffered from connection issues in the past which has held businesses back but we are now in a position where we can address that.”
Thousands of Vodafone customers with smartphones, who currently have a 3G service, will see their handsets automatically transfer to 4G when it launches.
Fergal Kelly, Vodafone’s chief technology officer, said the company is also continuing to improve the region’s 2G and 3G mobile phone services.
He said: “Mobile connectivity plays a vital role in keeping communities in touch and helping to support the local economy.
“Our improvements will ensure more people in Wiltshire will have the opportunity to take part in the smartphone revolution.”