Vodafone Australia boosts 4G network

Vodafone Australia boosts 4G network

Vodafone Australia is reallocating half of its mobile spectrum for 3G to 4G, and plans to expand the latter network to cover 95% of the urban population by the year end, according to local reports.

In what is thought to be a bid to compete with national rivals Telstra and Optus, Vodafone is shifting half of its 850MHz spectrum – which can reportedly reach further than higher frequencies such as 1800MHz, as well as cut through dense materials like brick – for use by its 4G network.

“Australian smartphone customers already have handsets that will work on Vodafone’s low-band 4G 850MHz,” said Benoit Hanssen, CTO at Vodafone Australia.

In 2012, Vodafone pulled out of an auction to acquire a chunk of 700MHz spectrum – which went to Telstra and Optus – but Hanssen supports the decision and said: “Nearly all smartphones that have been sold since the introduction of 4G in Australia do not support the APT-700MHz spectrum.”

Vodafone said that the reallocation will improve 4G connectivity for more than 1.5 million customers in the country, as well as improve indoor performance, and said it expects to reach 95% coverage of the urban population by the end of 2014.

“Refarming creates a 4G coverage layer that complements the existing high-band 4G network that uses the 1800MHz spectrum band, and offers super-fast data speeds,” the company said in a statement.

Both Telstra and Optus launched 700MHz 4G trial networks earlier this month.

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