Vodafone Australia has blamed Swedish vendor Ericsson for delays to the roll-out of its national 3G mobile network.
While the 3G network being built under a joint venture between Optus and Vodafone have been completed — representing 63 per cent of Vodafone's planned 3G coverage — the remaining third owned by Vodafone alone will be delayed by several months.
The major cause for the delay is integration work which Ericsson was expected to complete by Christmas, Andy Reeves, chief technology officer at Vodafone Australia told ZDNet.com.au.
"It will take Ericsson longer than originally anticipated to complete the project," he said.
"We're currently working with Ericsson to confirm a new date. Within two weeks we will have a new date but no further delays are expected."
The core networks that will eventually support Vodafone's 3G plans have been completed, said Reeves, along with 50 per cent of the radio network. "So from a civil works perspective the project is going well."
Until the project has been completed, Vodafone's customers in non-3G areas, such as Darwin and Tasmania, will have to settle for the telco's existing GSM voice, TXT and GPRS mobile email services.
Reeves said he expected the new delivery date to be a few months away but not a year.
Ericsson was also responsible for constructing Telstra's Next G mobile network. At the time it launched, Ericsson admitted that Telstra had pushed the Swedish vendor hard to make the roll out happen on time, with extensive personal contact between the CEOs of the pair.
An Ericsson spokesperson didn't immediately return calls on the issue this afternoon.