The mobile networks are built up from thousands of base stations around the country, connected back to the operators’ core networks using a variety of backhauls. Once the media hits the core network the voice/data session is directed as appropriate.
The backhaul technology has developed over time from E1s/ATM to Ethernet (fibre) with wireless connections thrown in where necessary.
Base stations, known in the business as Macrocells, contain the transmission and battery backup equipment to support a variety of call and data handling capacities (typically up to 250 simultaneous users) dependent on location. This equipment has historically taken a lot of space – it would probably fill the average master bedroom at home, requires expert installation and, because there is a mast involved to hold antennae at some height, needs Local Authority planning permission.
Technology developments mean that this kit can now fit into a single wardrobe.