Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has enabled Dual Carrier HSPA+ (DC-HSPA+) technology commercially in seven locations in what it has termed ‘the most critical phase of its AUD1.7 billion (USD1.78 billion) network upgrade’. Offering the technology as ‘Vodafone 3G+’, the increased speeds are initially available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Perth, Adelaide and Newcastle, with VHA having said that customers in those locations will be able to connect at downlink rates of up to 16Mbps, a rate which it claims is ‘around eight times faster than the average previously available on the Vodafone 3G network within selected metropolitan areas’.
VHA meanwhile reiterated that it expects customers ‘mobile coverage experience’ to be further enhanced in the wake of a joint venture with rival mobile operator Optus, which it said will provide its subscribers with coverage reaching 96% of the Australian population, from as early as April 2013. As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in May 2012 VHA and Optus confirmed they were to expand upon an existing network sharing agreement, with the duo at that date outlining plans to set up a new joint venture that would also construct new shared mobile sites. The revised deal will see VHA customers gain the ability to roam on the Optus network, with the JV expected to roll out around 500 new shared base stations over the course of the next four years.
Alongside the DC-HSPA+ announcement, VHA has also reaffirmed its intentions to inaugurate Long Term Evolution-based (LTE-based) services next year, having noted that all of its base stations are now equipped with ‘4G-ready technology’.
Peter Ryan, VHA’s General Manager, Networks, said of the latest announcements: ‘Over the last two years, we’ve been working hard to upgrade the Vodafone network, and now have brand new equipment at every Vodafone base station across Australia … We’re now ready to accelerate our data speeds and the speed of network upgrades with the introduction of Vodafone 3G+ this month and our planned rapid rollout of 4G (LTE) from early next year.’