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Technology and resources

Research and development

The Group R&D function comprises an international team for applied research in mobile and internet communications and their related applications. It supports the strategic objectives of Vodafone by:

  • contributing leading edge technical capabilities to Vodafone’s consumer offerings in the areas of internet, web and terminal platforms and by directing the standardisation of relevant cross platform technologies;
  • identifying new and emerging business opportunities for fixed and mobile services; and
  • industry leadership in the development of future generation network technology through specification of standards, standardisation and systematic engineering trials.

Group R&D work programme

There have been several significant advances during the 2009 financial year including:

  • significant progress in long term evolution (‘LTE’) trials, a global radio access technology, with key partners Verizon Wireless and China Mobile, designed to deliver a range of customer benefits including higher speeds and enhanced throughput performance;
  • trials conducted to boost backhaul capacity using new ethernet microwave technology, which is expected to quadruple backhaul capacity in channelling voice and data traffic away from base stations, while enhancing network efficiency and service for customers and offering cost efficiencies;
  • launch of the Android powered HTC Magic Pioneer smartphone, providing an improved mobile experience and offering scope for personalisation via the application rich Android market. This follows Vodafone’s membership of the Open Handset Alliance, established by Google in 2007 to develop the Android operating system for mobile phones;
  • commercial development of near field communications enabled mobile phones and SIM cards to reach international standards. Vodafone and other key players drove the contactless technology development with the SIM at the centre of the architecture and have been trialling pre-standard implementations in Germany and France;
  • development and roll out of a framework for improving mobile access to the internet through small, personalised applications known as widgets. Vodafone has also played a pivotal role in driving the standardisation of this technology across the mobile industry; and
  • growth and expansion in Vodafone’s developer portal, Betavine, which helps developers to transition their applications to operate on mobile devices. Betavine is also being used as a launch pad for Vodafone’s engagement with the developer community to bring innovation to the Group’s customers and to meet needs in emerging markets through the Betavine social exchange.