Vodafone has made a deal with state railway authorities for particular blocks of the 1800MHz spectrum band to support the roll-out of long-term evolution (LTE) services in capital cities.
Vodafone had said, earlier this year, that it was installing equipment at its mobile base stations that supported LTE technology, as part of its billion-dollar network revamp with Huawei.
The 1800MHz spectrum is central to Australian telcos' initial forays into LTE, enabling the telcos to use the new technology until alternate spectrum in the 700MHz band is parcelled out by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) at auction next year. Vodafone has now made spectrum swap arrangements with the rail authorities so that it has contiguous blocks of spectrum that can be used to provide LTE services.
"We have now organised our spectrum into contiguous blocks in mainland capital cities that will support the roll out of LTE in all capital cities, once mass market handsets and mobile broadband devices are available at mass market prices," Nigel Dews, CEO of Vodafone said in a statement. Huawei has conducted LTE trials with the carrier, achieving peak download speeds of up to 73Mbps.
The 1800MHz spectrum that Vodafone has secured from the rail companies is in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, will be combined with spectrum it already has in these cities, as well as that within Brisbane and Perth. The spectrum expires in 2013 and 2015.
The transaction was recorded on the ACMA page, which records spectrum licence allocations as being completed Friday 16 September 2011.
"We thank the railways for their co-operation to help reach a better public policy outcome," Dews said.
Telstra is already offering some customers service using LTE running on the 1800MHz band. Optus has just announced that it plans to offer LTE services from next year.