Optus, Voda agree to expanded network

Optus, Voda agree to expanded network

Summary: Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) have agreed to expand their joint-venture network agreement, adding an additional 1800 base stations to Vodafone's 3G network and 1000 to Optus' 3G and long-term evolution (LTE) networks.

TOPICS: Telcos, Networking, Optus

Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) have agreed to expand their joint-venture network agreement, adding an additional 1800 base stations to Vodafone's 3G network and 1000 to Optus' 3G and long-term evolution (LTE) networks.

(Handshake image by Aidan Jones, CC BY-SA 2.0)

In 2004, Optus and Vodafone signed an agreement to share network sites and infrastructure across Australia. This agreement was scaled back to just site sharing in 2008. ZDNet Australia understands that this new agreement reinforces the site sharing, but will also let Vodafone use Optus' backhaul.

Optus today said that the agreement will result in a 20 per cent increase in the number of mobile sites in the Optus network by 2015, while Vodafone will add around 400 existing Optus sites to its own network, plus 500 new joint sites — subject to approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Vodafone further planned to incorporate 900 base stations from the decommissioned joint network with 3 Mobile when it stops operations in August.

Optus said that the joint agreement will allow the company to accelerate its roll-out of 3G network improvements and its new 4G network by 12 to 18 months.

"Today's agreement ensures Optus can accelerate its aggressive push to bring customers a leading mobile network for today and tomorrow," Optus consumer Australia CEO Kevin Russell said in a statement.

Vodafone Australia's new CEO Bill Morrow said that the deal puts Vodafone on the path to introduce LTE services.

"The expansion to our coverage is a significant step forward, and is part of our evolution toward higher-performance network speeds that will ultimately lead to our introduction of 4G," he said in a statement. "The key benefit of the expanded network joint venture will be that it increases the depth of coverage to Vodafone customers."

In addition to the joint agreement, Optus will allow Vodafone customers to roam to Optus' network in a number of regional areas, increasing Vodafone's network coverage to 96 per cent of the Australian population.

Deputy chairman of Vodafone Australia's part-owner Hutchison, Barry Roberts-Thomson, said in an address to shareholders today that despite the woes that Vodafone has faced over the past year, following its infamous network troubles that started at the end of 2010, Hutchison will continue to support Vodafone — contrary to rumours that it is looking to get out of the merger agreement that the companies signed for their Australian operations in 2009.

Hutchison reported a loss of $167.7 million for the year ending 31 December 2011, due to the decrease in Vodafone Australia's profitability last year, as a result of the network issues.

To address the problems, Vodafone has embarked on a massive $1 billion upgrade of its 3G network with Chinese network vendor Huawei. Roberts-Thomson said that 1100 3G 850MHz sites have gone live on the Vodafone network since the upgrade, and a total of 1500 are expected to go live by the end of the third quarter of 2012.

Roberts-Thomson said that the upgrade has been completed in Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and South Australia. The rest of Australia should be completed in the third quarter of 2012.

Topics: Telcos, Networking, Optus


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • I guess Optus has to make a deal with someone who has the staff to do the job since they are about to sack 10% of their workforce.
  • You beat me to it fibretech. If it was Telstra who was slaughtering Australian workers all hell would have broken loose as the Anti Telstra Brigade went into spin mode. Singapore owned Optus that's OK.
    • Why mention Singapore?

      I agree the grubs should be criticised 'at times" for their antics but NOT for their origins/creed.

      I can see your desperation in wanting those junk bonds to get back to $7.40 (what you paid) but please try to reign in your racism.

      Ironically with your quip about slaughtering Aussie workers, whenever Telstra have unceremoniously slaughtered Aussie workers with mass sackings, I have asked where is lala and his idiot mate, now?

      But alas you are both in hiding with nothing to say, how convenient!
      • Owned!
        • Hey chipped you only got a one word vocabilary?
          • Ooooooops vocabulary.
          • He may do but at least he knows how to spell it...!
          • Ouch! I asked for that one.
  • G'Day Beta. Long time no hear. I can understand that you were hiding under a rock somewhere bemoaning the fact that Telstra, one of Australia's companies, is having a remarkable resurgence.

    Probably the reason I mentioned Singapore is that my wife is in Singapore this week where she is enjoying our favourite place (her 17th visit) and I guess is contributing to the prosperity of the Singapore people. So you see Beta, no racism.
  • Yes Telstra is having a remarkable recovery up approx. 40% since the NBN deal was to be signed)... so answer one simple question please?

    About a year or two ago when you and your idiot mate were sobbing wildly and bagging the NBN daily (because it would impact your more precious than life itself TLS shares) someone argued via these forums, to the contrary and told you that once the NBN deal was done, Telstra shareholders would see a remarkable resurgence.

    Who was that person (and you don't have to look under any rocks to find him)?
    • Apology accepted :-)
      • You did Beta.
        • Thank you, "genuinely", for your honesty Syd...

          So please don't now say I am bemoaning the Telstra revival from under my rock.

          But under the circumstances, all I can say to you is good luck to you and your TLS shares, Syd. Perhaps instead of the quick profit I should have listened to, umm, myself and hung onto mine too, LOL.
  • Its good to hear that Vodafone are still there plugging away. I was worried for a while when I heard that they were losing customers. I heard stories of people leaving and then coming back as contractors to milk the company before it went belly up. Their service is getting better, and coverage is improving, so I hope they can hold it together.