VHA unveils network upgrade, expansion plans

25 Oct 2010

Hot on the heels of news that Telstra has agreed to shut down a 3G mobile spectrum joint venture with Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) in 2012, the latter has announced a major programme aimed at amalgamating its own network assets. According to Australian IT, VHA, a joint venture between Vodafone Australia and Hutchison 3G Australia (H3G), has said it will consolidate all of its assets into a single network in addition to undertaking an expansion project that will see it add around 1,400 new cell sites. The JV has also said it plans to establish a new network operating over the 850MHz band. The new base stations that VHA intends to construct will boost 3G capacity in both metro and outer metro areas, with 900 and 500 sites deployed in each respective sector; of the 900 new metro sites the bulk are expected to come from the sites that VHA will retrieve following the termination of its agreement with Telstra. VHA’s new 850MHz network meanwhile will span the 1,500 2G base stations it already operates, although it is expected that this will expand to its entire footprint in the future, with VHA CEO Nigel Dews noting: ‘Every site in our network will have a 2G layer, a 3G layer at 850MHz and a 3G layer at 2100MHz.’ Since the merger of H3G and Vodafone Australia, the JV has reportedly spent AUD550 million (USD540 million) on the consolidation of the two operators.