Netherlands gets second 4G network as Vodafone LTE goes live

Four cities now have 4G coverage from the operator, the second in the country to offer fourth-generation services.

Vodafone Netherlands launched its 4G services in four major cities on Monday: Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.

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The launch makes  Vodafone the second telco in the country to offer 4G, after KPN rolled out its LTE network earlier this year . T-Mobile is expected to follow suit this autumn.

By flicking the switch on its 4G network, Vodafone has given subscribers access to theoretical maximum download speeds of 50Mbps, although the operator added that actual speeds will likely be somewhere between 10Mbps and 15Mbps.

Vodafone has opted for a gradual rollout, with new customers being the first be to use the high-speed network, followed by existing customers later this month.

For the delivery of its 4G service, Vodafone uses a combination of the 800MHz and the 1800MHz band. The 800Mhz band provides better propagation — that is, can cover greater areas with less infrastructure — whereas the 1800MHz band offers more capacity and better in-building coverage.

One advantage of Vodafone's use of the 1800MHz band is that owners of an iPhone 5 will now be able to get on 4G. Until yesterday, there was no LTE option for them in the Netherlands due to the fact that competitor KPN, until recently the only 4G operator, opted for the European 800MHz standard .

Vodafone said on Monday that it improved speeds for its current 3G network as well turning on its 4G equivalent.

"Although the use of 4G will increase rapidly, a significant portion of the customers will still rely on 3G in the next couple of years'" the operator said in a statement.

"Therefore, as part of phase two of the #FastForward program, Vodafone is increasing the speed of the existing 3G network for all customers by using dual carrier technology; giving all data subscriptions download speeds of at least 7.2Mbps,"

Prepaid customers will be able to get faster 3G speeds as of 1 September.