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Vodafone puts 4G through its paces

While tests of the Vodafone 4G network today show it stands well above Telstra and Optus right now, the company is putting it through its paces to ensure it can keep getting super-fast speeds when customers get their chance to join in June.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

A test run of Vodafone's 4G network on both category 3 and category 4 4G devices has shown that it can easily beat out both Optus and Telstra on speed, but the real test for the company will be putting customers on it.

Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet

The speed tests of Vodafone's 4G on Bondi Beach today were conducted on three different devices: The Samsung Galaxy S III, the HTC One X, and a Huawei category 4 dongle.

Vodafone first put the network tower around 500 metres from the beach at 10MHz, where the network achieved download speeds on the Samsung Galaxy S III of 61 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 29Mbps in tests conducted by ZDNet. The HTC One X achieved around 66Mbps down and 24Mbps up.

The telco then ramped up the network to use the full 20MHz of spectrum that Vodafone has in the 1800MHz band, where the download speeds across the HTC and Samsung devices ranged between 86Mbps and 109Mbps, with upload speeds of around 39Mbps. The Huawei dongle achieved download speeds of 150Mbps, and Vodafone executives were able to stream four HD movie trailers simultaneously.

The test, however, was in relatively good conditions, albeit indoors, and there were also very few others using the 4G at that time.

The real test for Vodafone will be whether these sorts of speeds can hold up when customers start using the network in June in a number of Australia's biggest cities. Vodafone is preparing for that now, and a number of Vodafone staff members have already been given 4G devices to road test the network over the coming weeks.

There will also be a limited customer trial before the full commercial launch, and ZDNet understands that Vodafone will be seeking out existing customers who represent the typical 4G user experience to ensure that the network holds up after launch.

Vodafone CEO Bill Morrow indicated earlier this month that at launch, Vodafone would offer 4G plans to customers at the same pricing as its 3G services, in line with how Telstra and Optus have priced their 4G services.

In February, Telstra announced plans to introduce category 4 devices following tests in Perth, where the company was also able to achieve 150Mbps download speeds as Telstra holds 20MHz of 1800MHz spectrum in Perth.

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