Vodafone bumps 4G investment ahead of U.K. launch in 'late summer'

The European telco is bolstering its 4G LTE infrastructure in the U.K. with double its original investment in order to keep up with its main rival.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: Vodafone, DE

Vodafone is upping its investment in its U.K. next-generation 4G LTE network by 50 percent ahead of a launch later this year.

The London-based cellular network giant — with brands spanning the U.K., wider Europe, and Australia — said on Monday [PDF] that it will up its investment by 50 percent to more than £900 million ($1.38bn), or £2.5 million ($3.8m) per day, until it launches.

The company has already spent around £800 million ($1.2bn) in an auction of wireless spectrum in February in order to outbid its rivals so it can clamber up as much space as it can to launch a range of faster networks that will boost its overall top line.

"For consumers, it's another important step towards the arrival of our ultra-fast 4G service later this year," said Vodafone U.K. chief executive Guy Laurence in remarks. "We're investing in vital national infrastructure that can help play an important role in supporting growth in the wider economy."

An earlier timeline pegged 4G LTE network availability for "later this year," but the company has now said it will launch the service by "late summer" — which means by roughly September, for our friends in the southern hemisphere.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but it will likely be on par with or slightly less than its main rival, EE, which launched late last year.

Vodafone already dipped its feet into the 4G LTE pool by launching its 4G LTE service in Spain in late May, in seven cities across the country, beating all other networks to the punch.

It's hoped that next-generation networks in the country will help Spain's ailing economy by seeing as much as €12 billion (£10.2bn; $15.7bn) injected into its coffers.

Meanwhile, Vodafone has already made progress to getting 4G LTE in Australia, our Sydney bureau reported, albeit a little later than its rivals Telstra and Optus. Cisco will provide the gear behind the cell network's evolved packet core, and said it will help Vodafone to simplify capacity and manage traffic proactively.

Vodafone is expected to launch its 4G LTE network in Australia, running on the 1800MHz spectrum band and providing speeds of up to 150Mbps, later this month.

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