Vodafone has committed to launching long-term evolution (LTE) "4G" services in 2013, almost two years after Telstra and a year after Optus.
Vodafone is edging closer to completing its 18-month overhaul of its mobile base stations, replacing 2G and 3G equipment with Huawei SingleRAN units, which will allow the company to offer 2G, 3G and 4G services. Of the 8000 base stations, 5500 have been upgraded, with just the eastern states of Australia yet to be completed. Although these upgrades would allow Vodafone to offer 4G, it has, so far, been the one mobile operator that has yet to launch 4G services.
Today, however, Vodafone CEO Bill Morrow committed to launching 4G services early next year, after the company begins switching on its dual-channel HSPA+ 3G services in the 850MHz spectrum band from September this year. Vodafone is referring to these services as "3G+".
"We recognise the consumer trends toward the increasing demand for data, and we are now ready to introduce advanced technologies such as Vodafone 3G+ and 4G (LTE)," he said in a statement. "3G+ will be available from September and 4G next year, giving our customers the benefits of even faster data speeds on the Vodafone network."
The company will need to first go to tender for the 4G roll-out, before announcing exact timing, Morrow said.
"As we now approach the completion of this phase of our national network roll-out, we have mapped out a very clear path for the introduction of higher data speeds and enhanced coverage for the benefit of our smartphone, tablet and mobile broadband customers."
Vodafone will also be upgrading transmission equipment and additional backhaul to base stations to IP-based technology.
The news comes after Vodafone suffered massive outages in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory this morning, between 9.12am AEST and 9.50am EST, affected 2G and 3G services.