Vodafone takes high-speed 3G to the bush

Vodafone takes high-speed 3G to the bush

Summary: Vodafone has announced a New Year's resolution that will be music to the ears of long-suffering regional mobile phone users -- promising to spend up to AU$500 million on a next generation mobile broadband network that will cover some 95 percent of the Australian population by Christmas 2008.


Vodafone has announced a New Year's resolution that will be music to the ears of long-suffering regional mobile phone users -- promising to spend up to AU$500 million on a next generation mobile broadband network that will cover some 95 percent of the Australian population by Christmas 2008.

Vodafone Australia CEO Russell Hewitt says the mobile carrier will make a national mobile broadband network its "number one priority for 2008".

The carrier is currently evaluating proposals from equipment manufacturers Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and Huawei for the build-out of HSPA and radio equipment for the new network. Vodafone Australia chief technology officer Andy Reeves says he expects the winning equipment vendor to be selected before the end of the month.

The carrier will maintain its existing 3G network sharing joint-venture with Optus in major metropolitan areas, but will upgrade its existing 2G network -- which covers 93 percent of the Australian population -- to a new network that offers far higher speeds to a wider number of users.

Want to know more?

    For all the latest news, reviews and analysis on wireless, click here

"The current 3G network we share with Optus covers about 55 percent of the population," Reeves said. "Now we are building our own next generation network to take that coverage to 95 percent."

The new network, Reeves said, will be at least as fast as the network Vodafone shares with Optus -- a theoretical downlink speed of 3.2Mbps.

The new network will be based on both the 900Mhz and 2100Mhz mobile spectrum. The 2100Mhz band tends to work best in areas of dense population, Reeves said, whereas the 900Mhz band tends to be better for achieving broader reach.

Optus has also been trialling the use of 900MHz mobile spectrum in regional areas. Vodafone's new national network will compete directly with Telstra's high-speed Next G network but Reeves declined to comment as to whether Vodafone's network will be more affordable.

"We haven't really worked out exact details on pricing plans just yet," he said.

Reeves said Vodafone does not anticipate receiving any government assistance in providing the high speed network to regional areas.

Topics: Broadband, Mobility, Telcos, Optus, NBN

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Vodafone Next G

    If vodafone can give me coverage(TEL$TRA CAN'T) at a reasonable cost, I'll be one of the first,to sign up.It's about time TEL$TRA had some competition in remote areas.
  • Vodafone

    Great this means I don't have to buy a Next G phone. I will spend my money with anyone who competes with Telstra. How do you like that Amigo
  • Childish.

    You are pathetic.
  • Yes I agree

    They are so pathetic. Lets loose the stooges. If you can double your salary against the shareholders will, and still run the company into the ground, then its time to send a clear message. Go home amigos!!
  • Problem with expressing coverage in terms of population covered

    Vodafone claim they will cover 95% of the Australian population. I don't know the stats, but I bet that the percentage of Australians who live in capital cities is not far off that number. Quoting the number of Australians covered, as all telcos including Telstra do, tells you nothing about whether the service will work as you drive from capital city to country town or even in country town when you get there. For many companies, coverage is as important as rates and you can't understand coverage by talking in terms of population. You have to compare coverage maps and decide whether a telco covers the areas you need to work in.
  • yes you don't know the stats...

    yet you still bother to comment.... why not put the effort in to be informed...

    took me 1 minute to find out "At 30 June 2006, capital city Statistical Divisions (SDs) were home to over 13.2 million people, making up almost two-thirds (64%) of Australia's population, the same proportion as in June 2001 and June 1996."

  • Wow 95%

    95% of the population live in major metropolitan areas, the real issue is getting to 96, 97, 98 ... or as Telstra has done almost 99% of the population.

    The decade old Telstra GSM Network already covers more then the proposed Vodaphoney netwok will.
  • Facts can be used in different ways

    So what you are saying is that up until now they covered 55% of the population with high speed mobile access (which is even less then the population in capital cities) and were only doing this by sharing with a company that will not invest unless they get handouts.

    Now that they are seeing losses in revenue due to clients moving to a superior network they are willing to invest and follow the leader.

    Once again they will only invest enough to try and increase market share and not to deliver a service to everyone, how would you feel if you were one of the 1,000,000 that still missed out?
  • Just between you and me...

    Do you find that people don't want to work with you for very long? You can tell me. No-one else need know.
  • Telstra still remains the best

    as a business customer who travels in regional Australia extensively, you cannot beat the Telstra NextG network for both speed and coverage. Vodaphone wants to cover 95% in 12 months time. One has to ask what will Australias own Telco- Telstra deliver at that time when they cover nearly 99% now with speeds up to 14.4Mps. While the other overseas owned companies follow our own, they follow along way behind
  • How it really works!

  • coverage

    I live in a small town called gilgai NSW little remote vilalge we are on 10KMS from the nearest town and we dont hardly get any service if we put our phoe in the right place vodafone offers more service in remote areas so come on vodafone go 100% coverage and make the other copanies follow about time aussie have more right to mobile service in the bush where it is needed the most
  • Great Services, Best Service's, Cheaper services!!

    Maybe Telstra might have the best service available in Australia, But the best deals I am yet to see that, I for one am a am not entirely happy with my Bigpond broadband service, Bigpond what a laugh! nor my mobile which is through Vodafone, all services need to upgraded to allow for the expanding population in this so called great country of ours that we all call home, we are now into 2008, it will be interesting to see, what all internet & home phone & mobile services come up with in the near future. but I don't think so, the way any company seems to run, is they feed so much money into the big boses pocket, while everyone else pays for a crap service, this is extended to all services around Australia