Vodafone switching on 4G for Kogan Mobile

Vodafone has followed Telstra's move to offer its 4G network to MVNOs, with Kogan Mobile to gain access in June.

Kogan Mobile customers will be able to use Vodafone Australia's 4G network as of June, with all new and existing customers to be moved across to the higher-speed network without any increase in pricing.

Kogan Mobile was relaunched on Vodafone's 3G network in October last year following a short-lived tenure in the mobile industry in 2013, which was marked by an unfortunate deal with ISPOne to resell Telstra 3G services.

Vodafone at the time signalled its intent to open up its 4G network to Kogan Mobile during the first half of 2016.

"We know Aussies want fast mobile speeds. Enabling 4G is part of our plan to continuously improve the value consumers receive from Kogan Mobile," Kogan.com executive director David Shafer said on Friday.

"Vodafone has invested billions into their network in recent years, and being able to bring its fast 4G speeds to Kogan Mobile customers will make our prepaid options even more attractive. 4G coverage is available in all major metro locations and selected regional areas across Australia."

Vodafone has been expanding its 4G network nationwide, purchasing AU$68 million worth of 1800MHz spectrum in February during the auction held by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The 1800MHz band is already being used in metropolitan areas by Vodafone, Telstra, and Optus to deliver their 4G networks, but was primarily in use in remote Australia for point-to-point backhaul services. The reallocation of the spectrum will ensure that it is used to bring faster connection speeds to those living in regional areas.

During the auction, Vodafone won two lots in North Queensland, spending AU$7.75 million; one lot in South Queensland, for AU$7.91 million; four lots in the ACT, for a hefty AU$37 million; two lots in Tasmania, for AU$12.87 million; and two lots in Regional WA, for AU$2.5 million.

It also refarmed its 850MHz spectrum band to bring coverage to regional and metropolitan Queensland, NSW, and the Australian Capital Territory at the end of last year.

Earlier this month, Vodafone announced that its 4G network now covers 95.3 percent of the Australian population, or 23 million people. Vodafone Australia CEO Inaki Berroeta said this signalled a 40 percent rise in its network size over the past four years.

The announcement by Kogan Mobile follows Telstra on Thursday making its 4G network available to mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) AldiMobile, Woolworths, Telechoice, and Better Life.

Telstra's wholesale 4G network will reach 92 percent of the Australian population across the 1800MHz/700MHz spectrum bands, as well as the 2600MHz band for extra capacity in some areas, and will facilitate maximum download speeds of 100Mbps.

Meanwhile, Amaysim and its MVNO brands Vaya, Live Connected, and Zen Connect have been reselling Optus' 4G Plus network over mobile services and fixed-line broadband for around two years, as has Virgin Mobile.

In terms of mobile market share, market research company Kantar published the latest statistics on Thursday, revealing that MVNOs have lost customers across the board -- losing 0.1 percentage point in the total market segment, down to 7.5 percent; 0.3 percentage points in prepaid, down to 6.9 percent; 0.5 percentage points in post-paid, down to 6.4 percent; and 0.5 percentage points in the no-contract segment, to 13.8 percent of market share.

Vodafone has also lost customers, dropping by 1.3 percentage points in total market share down to 15.2 percent. In the prepaid segment, it lost 1.4 percentage points in market share down to 14.2 percent; in post-paid, it lost 1.3 percentage points down to 16.5 percent; and in no contract, it remained the same, at 12.3 percent.