Vodafone re-allocates 850MHz 4G spectrum a week after Telstra and Optus 700MHz launch

Benoit Hanssen promises improved 4G for 1.5 million customers

Vodafone pulled the plug on its bid for a chunk of the 700MHz spectrum in 2012, and is now re-allocating its existing 850MHz spectrum to compete with Telstra and Optus, both of which launched their respective 700MHz networks to limited locations earlier this month.

In what appears to be a very timely announcement, Vodafone chief technology officer (CTO), Benoit Hanssen, said, “Australian smartphone customers already have handsets that will work on Vodafone’s low-band 4G 850MHz network.”

“However, nearly all smartphones that have been sold since the introduction of 4G in Australia do not support the APT-700MHz spectrum.”

Vodafone claims that the re-allocation of its 850MHz allotment will improve 4G connectivity for more than 1.5 million customers, and promises it will reach 95 per cent of the nation’s metropolitan population by the end of 2014, and improve indoor performance.

According to a statement, the “re-farming creates a 4G coverage layer that complements the existing high-band 4G network that uses the 1800MHz spectrum band, and offers superfast data speeds.”

Hanssen said “Vodafone’s overall network was performing very well” on the back of its investments over the past three years.

In last week’s financial report Hutchison Telecoms (HTAL) said Vodafone added an average of 100 4G sites per month in the first half of calendar 2014, a figure it expects to increase to 300 per month through the rest of the year.

In the same report, it revealed that Vodafone lost another 137,000 customers in the six months to June 30, but claimed that its post-paid business is stabilising on the back of high-value customers, which it is relying on throughout its turnaround.

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