Vodafone today has announced that it has begun 4G network trials in Sydney, posting a speed test screenshot boasting of 66Mbps downlink speeds.

The telco made the announcement via its own customer-facing blog, saying that in 4G tests conducted around Sydney's Eastern suburbs the team saw average speeds of between 60 and 67MBps. These are easy tests on a near-empty network though, and later in the blog post it refers to typical speeds of around 20-40Mbps on today's smartphones, like the iPhone 5 and Nokia Lumia 920.

Fat pipes

Vodafone does believe it is building a better network though, with plans to launch it network with 20MHz of bandwidth within the 1800MHz frequency. It believes this outdoes its competitors Telstra and Optus, who currently offer 4G services with 15MHz and 10MHz bandwidth respectively.

"The easiest way to explain bandwidth is to compare it to a highway. A 20MHz highway will have twice the number of lanes to carry traffic than a 10MHz highway, meaning if you're a tablet or smartphone user, you're likely to experience less traffic congestion on a bigger (20MHz) highway." writes the post's author Alan Didovich.

Congestion on its 4G network is something Vodafone will be keen to avoid after losing a large portion of its customers over the last two-years on the back of its widely-publicised failure to deliver consistent and reliable service on its existing 3G network. These failures have resulted in a public relations nightmare for the telco, who now face a long road back to reclaiming the confidence in the Australian market.

Vodafone now publishes a weekly network update on its blog, detailing the new infrastructure in its network, which has seen thousands of new base stations added across Australia over the last two-years, and many of its older sites upgraded to the 850MHz 3G frequency; similar to Telstra's Next G network.

Adding 4G to its network could be a boon for existing subscribers, who may enjoy a better performing network that the telco's rivals, simply for the fact that there will be less people using it overall.