Vodafone AU expanding LTE reach

Dylan Bushell-Embling
31 Jul 2014

Vodafone Australia has announced plans to extend its LTE network to cover 95% of the nation's metropolitan population by the end of the year.

The operator said it will refarm its existing 850-MHz spectrum to augment its 4G network.

Current Vodafone 4G customers with compatible smartphones and tablets will be able to use LTE over 850-MHz without having to make any changes to handsets, settings or plans.

Vodafone CTO Benoit Hanssen said the fact that the majority of 4G handsets available in Australia can work on 850-MHz spectrum gives the operator a competitive over rivals Telstra and Optus. Both rivals secured 700-MHz spectrum during last year's Digital Dividend auction, but Vodafone sat out after initially applying to participate.

“Nearly all smartphones that have been sold since the introduction of 4G in Australia do not support the APT 700-MHz spectrum. Customers on other networks will therefore require a new device in order to experience low-band 4G services,” he said.

Telstra and Optus started trialing 4G in the 700-MHz band this month.

The low-band 850-MHz spectrum will complement Vodafone's existing high-band 1800-MHz 4G network, Hanssen added.

The 1800-MHz LTE network went live in June last year, and Vodafone announced the launch of Cat 4 LTE services in January.

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