Vodafone taking on Optus, Telstra with its 850MHz network

Preparing starts for the 700MHz switch on

Mobile network

Vodafone has announced that it will be using its extensive 850MHz spectrum holding, so far used for its 3G mobile network, to expand its 4G network.

The telco's existing low-band 850MHz spectrum will now be re-allocated, or "re-farmed", and will allow its 4G coverage to reach 95% of Australia's metro population by the end of 2014.

"I am pleased we are able to use the flexibility of our new network to provide our customers with an even better 4G experience. This provides Vodafone the platform for the next stage of our network evolution," Vodafone CTO Benoit Hanssen said.

Vodafone has successfully trialed the network across greater Newcastle, NSW, on a range of 4G-compatible devices at more than 40 sites.

Taking on 700MHz

While Telstra and Optus purchased some of the 700MHz spectrum band during the Digital Dividend auction, Vodafone bowed out.

Hanssen says that most smartphones in the market already use 850MHz, while 700MHz compatible devices are only just starting to emerge, though it should be noted that the 700MHz networks won't be switched on nationally until early 2015.

"Australian smartphone customers already have handsets that will work on Vodafone's low-band 4G 850MHz network," Hanssen said.

"Customers on other networks will therefore require a new device in order to experience low-band 4G services."

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