Vodafone To Attack 3G+, 4G 2013
Between its ‘3G+’ and 4G network expansion plans, they’ll have their work cut out for the next while, says Vodafone spokesperson Greg Spears.
But will Voda’s network still cut out as in the past? Hopefully not, if its massive network plans come to fruition. Its 3G network upgrade is almost complete, 3G+ to be rolled out by September, while next-gen 4G LTE services are coming 2013.
“There has been a lot of work over the past 18 months to redress the issues,” says Spears, but “we’re well advanced on network improvement and have a lot of work still to do.”
Last month, Vodafone said it was on schedule with the roll-out of its $1 billion network investment, which it was forced to undertake late 2010 after a litany of network issues led it to be branded “Vodafail” and thousands of customers (to the delight of Telstra, Optus and Co) fled the telco’s mobile service.
Vodafone plans to introduce 3G+ (HSPA+) and its next gen 4G (LTE) network which it says will “ensure reliability” on its troubled network. They will also bring greater data speeds, meaning the Net on your smartphones, tabs and wireless broadband will be better than before, says Spears.
So, how fast is the new 3G+ anyway?
3G+ is eight times faster than current 3G speeds or between 2-15Mbps, and will be hitting metro areas across Oz from September.
And in terms of its existing 3G network, it has all been upgraded to ‘state of the art’ equipment. There’s also an additional layer through the adoption of the 850MHz 3G band, which better penetrates materials and ultimately improves indoor reception.
The telco has completed 3G network roll out in WA, NT, SA, Tas and ACT with NSW and Qld left on the ‘to do’ list, which will be complete later this year.
Vodafone says there has been “significant” improvements in the performance metrics used to assess call quality and mobile broadband data sessions in all upgraded areas, so far.
And what of its site sharing deal with Optus (to access around 400 of their base station sites and build 500 more shared sites, 3G and 4G), will there be any more synergy between the two rivals in the future?
“We do our own thing,” says Spears but the new deal is “a sensible way” will allows Voda customers gain roaming access on the Optus network, meaning better international coverage and the sharing of 4G sites means it “fast tracks the ability to bring coverage to new areas.”
Meanwhile 4G (LTE) from Vodafone won’t be here until next year, meaning it lag behind rivals Telstra, who already has several hundred thousand customers on the 4G network since its launch last year, while telco No. 2 Optus says it will have “the highest capacity 4G network in Australia,” using LTE-TDD – an advanced version of TD-LTE technology and will have faster speeds than Telstra.
So, how fast will Voda’s 4G be when released?
|Spears says their 4G will be 2-40 Mbps or 15 times faster than current speeds, although this (speed) depends on your handset and the proximity to a base station and how many users are using that tower, he warns.
Telstra’s typical download speeds are 2Mbps – 40Mbps, uploads of 1Mbps – 10Mbps, while Optus reckons its 4G network has typical download speeds from 25Mbps to 87Mbps.
In light of Voda’s recent troubles, Spears refused to speculate how many, if any, customers have left the network since its last financials which revealed it lost 200,000 users in the last six months of 2011 and suffered a net loss of $167.7m.
The telco’s half year results will be announced August 01, so we’ll know more then.