It's been a rough couple of years for Vodafone, but the mobile operator is hoping that the next 12 months will see it bounce back. A big part of that is the launch of its LTE network.
For a long time, Vodafone kept quiet on its plans for 4G, even going so far as to say it was waiting for the right time to launch the network, despite rolling out 4G equipment to its network towers since the start of 2011.
All that hard work is finally being realised, with Vodafone progressively rolling out its LTE network across the capital cities and major metropolitan centres from June 2013 for customers, before making 4G accessible to anyone from July.
Like Telstra and Optus, Vodafone is planning on using the 1800MHz spectrum for its LTE network. The advantage of this frequency for Vodafone is that it has a lot of it, courtesy of its merger with Hutchison's Three network in 2009.
In an interview on with Alan Kohler from the ABC's Inside Business program, Vodafone boss Bill Morrow confirmed that the network has about 30Mhz of spectrum in the 1800MHz band it can use for 4G.
Contiguous for the win
During a recent speed test using up just 20MHz of spectrum, LTE versions of the SGS3 and HTC One were able to get download speeds around the 100Mbps mark, although admittedly without any network congestion.
Vodafone hasn't announced any dedicated 4G devices just yeat, although a number of LTE enabled smartphones, like the HTC One, Sony Xperia Z and Samsung Galaxy S4 can all take advantage of the new network straight out of the box.
While it's still early days for Vodafone's 4G network, the company has demonstrated speeds of 150Mbps down, and hit speeds of 300Mbps in lab testing.
And while it's initially restricted to postpaid customers, Vodafone is planning on launching prepaid plans for 4G by the end of the year.