Vodafone boosts Canberra capacity with 1800MHz spectrum

10 October 2016 | James Pearce


Vodafone Australia has upgraded its 4G network in Canberra using the 1800MHz spectrum bought in an auction held earlier this year.

The operator spent AU$68million (£41 million) to secure 11x 1800MHz spectrum in the Australian Communications and Media Authority auction in February.

Vodafone has used the spectrum to upgrade 84 sites to 1800MHz 4G, increasing capacity fourfold, with plans to increase another 19 sites in the Australian capital over the next year.

"A great deal of work has been put into improving network performance in Canberra," said Vodafone CTO Kevin Millroy.

"Through our investments, we have been able to drive a wide range of upgrades to deliver greater reliability, speed, and performance. If you look at where people live and work, Vodafone is on par with major rivals."

The CTO also pointed to Vodafone’s construction of its fibre network across the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) city as proof it is prepared for 5G, ahead of technical trials due to begin this month with Nokia.

"In addition to upgrading our 4G network in Canberra, we have also started rolling out fibre with the aim of providing faster, more reliable connectivity in the future," the CTO said.

At the ACMA auction, Vodafone secured lots across five areas. Four of these, worth AU$37 million (£22 million), were for use in the ACT; two, worth AU$7.75 million (£4.7 million) for North Queensland; one lot for South Queensland, worth AU$7.9 million (£4.8 million); two in Tasmania for AU$12.87 million (£7.8 million); and finally two lots in Western Australia worth AU$2.5 million (£1.5 million).

Vodafone refarmed its 850MHz band to bring coverage to regional and metropolitan Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT last year, upgrading more than 3,000 sites over the course of 2015.

In April, it said its 4G network now covers 95.3% of the Australian population – a 40% rise in networks size over the past four years.

Vodafone has also made proposals to ACMA to buy the 700 MHz spectrum band that went unsold in the 2013 auction that the operator did not take part in, offering to pay  AU$594.3 million (£363 million) for the 2 x 10MHz lots.