As Telstra and Optus gear up for commercial launches of their new long-term evolution (LTE) mobile networks in 2011 and early 2012, Vodafone has remained quiet on when exactly it plans to provide services to customers.
Shortly after Telstra announced its plans for an LTE network earlier this year, Vodafone announced its intention to have LTE services by the end of 2011. However, following Optus' revelation today that it would provide services from April 2012, Vodafone would not pin down a date for its switch on of the service.
"We are already installing new equipment across our network that is LTE ready. We will switch on LTE services when it makes sense to from a commercial perspective, and this is also dependent on handset availability and the market environment," Vodafone told ZDNet Australia.
"We undertook successful LTE trials in the 1800MHz band with Huawei, near Newcastle, NSW, at the end of 2010. The results achieved download speeds of up to 73 [megabits per second], paving the way for the evolution to higher data speeds for our customers when the time is right."
Vodafone is currently in the midst of a massive network overhaul with Chinese network vendor Huawei. The telco is working to replace the ageing Ericsson 2G and 3G radio equipment in 8000 sites with Huawei gear that will enable Vodafone to begin rolling out LTE when it is ready. The network upgrade followed months of issues for Vodafone customers, with many unable to make calls or send or receive data over its network.