Vodafone has announced firm dates on the
completion of its 3G roll-out, which had been delayed last year due
to problems with its supplier Ericsson.
(Vodafone Melbourne – Apple iPhone queue image by avlxyz, CC2.0)
The telco said it was in the final stages of testing its 3G
network in major regional centres, which would go live during the
first week in May, bringing Vodafone's 3G coverage up to 80 per
cent of Australians.
The upgrade expands 3G services to Vodafone customers in areas
including Albury-Wodonga, Ballarat, Ballina, Bunbury, Byron Bay,
Cairns, Darwin, Hobart, Kiama, Lismore, Mackay, Newcastle,
Toowoomba, Townsville, Wollongong, Bowral, Nowra and Wagga
The rest of Vodafone's customers in 2G coverage areas will see
the faster services by 31 August, when Vodafone plans to have
reached 94 per cent of the population with 3G.
This was less than the original target of 95 per
cent. A spokesperson said that as the company got closer to launch,
testing and tuning had led it to get a more accurate estimate. "We
wanted to be transparent," the spokesperson said.
The $500 million roll-out
was originally scheduled to be completed by
Christmas last year, but in October Vodafone came out with the
news that the program would be delayed by
months. The portion of the network which it shared with Optus
— 63 per cent of the planned coverage — had been
completed but the part which Vodafone was rolling out alone was
The delay was laid at Ericsson's door, with Vodafone CTO Andy
Reeves saying that it was taking the vendor longer than originally
anticipated to complete the project.
With the end of the upgrade now in sight, Reeves justified the
delays. "It's always a race against time to bring major upgrades to market as soon as possible, but
it's even more important to get it right first time and minimise disruptions to normal services,"
he said. "We've managed the project in a pragmatic way to ensure
quality and continuity of coverage for our customers throughout the upgrade project."