Vodafone flirts with LTE-Advanced in Italy ahead of 2015 launch

Amid promises to extend its 3G and 4G networks, Vodafone is already looking to LTE-A with a trial in Naples.
Written by Jo Best, Contributor

The LTE-Advanced trend appears to be gathering steam, with Vodafone becoming the latest operator to announce it has began trials of the networking tech.

The carrier said on Wednesday it had conducted a trial of LTE-Advanced in the Italian city of Naples, where it had achieved download speeds of 250Mbps. LTE-Advanced, also known as LTE-A, is the higher-speed successor to the current generation of 4G tech, LTE. It works by aggregating two separate frequency bands — in Vodafone's case 1800MHz and 2600MHz — to deliver more bandwidth.

According to Vodafone, the trial is the first in Italy and brought download speeds double those currently available on other Italian mobile networks.

While the operator hasn't put a date on when it expects to roll out LTE-A commercially, it has said it expects hardware able to work with the standard will be available at the beginning of next year.

In the meantime, the company will double its HSPA+ coverage — the highest speed version of 3G with a theoretical maximum download speed of 42.2Mbps — and triple the reach of its existing LTE network.

Vodafone's trial follows several similar pilots announced by carriers across Europe: Vodafone and O2 are testing LTE-A in Germany, EE is doing similarly in the UK while both Bouygues and SFR are piloting it in cities in France.

Read more on LTE-A

Editorial standards