Vodafone has finally announced a limited rollout of 4G coverage in selected suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, claiming peak speeds of up to 100 Mbps across its network.
The carrier has also announced a limited number of sites near Wollongong, Parramatta and Newcastle have also been activated.
Coverage is limited to a small number of suburbs within each metropolitan area, so in Melbourne, for example, coverage is limited to selected parts of the CBD, St Kilda, Oakleigh, Clayton, Dandenong, Cranbourne, Mitcham, Box Hill North, Fitzroy North, Coburg, Mill Park, Moonee Valley, Roxburgh Park, Thomastown, Craigieburn, Melton and Hoppers Crossing.
However, while the carrier claims it will activate further sites in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Wollongong, Gold Coast and Newcastle, it has stated it has no plans to release the technology in Canberra, Tasmania or the Northern Territory.
The company claims, by using paired 2×20 MHz spectrum space in the 1800 MHz band, it will be able to achieve faster speeds on its network than Optus and Telstra currently offer.
“Australians have told us loud and clear they want a fast and reliable network. We have invested heavily in our 3G and 3G+ networks and we know our wide-band 4G rollout is going to thrill our data-hungry customers,” Vodafone chief executive Bill Morrow says.
“Vodafone customers in 4G areas with compatible devices will have access to speeds that are among the fastest not only in the country but in many parts of the world.”
However, Vodafone is very late in entering the 4G market, with Telstra first opening its network for mobile broadband in late 2011 and allowing the first mobile devices to use the network in January 2012.
Last month, SmartCompany reported Optus was planning to rollout 4G coverage across 70% of the Australian population by the middle of next year.
Telstra fired back, announcing it had already switched on its 1500th 4G base station, and was on track to cover 66% of the Australian population by the end of this month.
Meanwhile, while Telstra, Optus and TPG purchased 700MHz VHF spectrum or 2.5GHz UHF spectrum licences in the recent “digital dividend” auctions, providing extra capacity for future 4G services, while Vodafone did not.
Vodafone’s 4G network will initially also only work for data services, rather than offering voice calls over the network and other services.
“Vodafone 4G is unique in that it can only be used as a cellular data network. Voice, TXT and PXT will not work on 4G. If 4G a device receives/makes a call, for example, it will revert to 3G or lower. Once the call is finished, it will attempt to re-establish a 4G connection for data transfers,” Vodafone states.