news Vodafone has announced that its 4G network now reaches almost 23 million Australians, or more than 95% of the country’s population.
The new figures are due to the company’s national spectrum refarming project, which has seen Vodafone convert its entire holding of 850 MHz spectrum to increase its 4G network by over 20%.
Low-band spectrum (or ‘L850’) provides better indoor mobile coverage as the lower frequency signal penetrates buildings more effectively than higher frequencies.
The additional L850 capacity sits alongside the 4G coverage provided by Vodafone’s 1800MHz spectrum holdings.
Capable devices can now aggregate both 850MHz and 1800MHz bands for an “optimal” mobile experience on the Vodafone network, the telco said in a statement.
Vodafone Chief Technology Officer Benoit Hanssen said the company had invested heavily to deliver a “world-class” 4G network.
“We have spent billions of dollars over recent years to build a high-performing 4G network throughout Australia for our customers. Now available in more places, our 4G network is faster and more resilient than ever before,” said Hanssen.
As well as expanding its 4G coverage, Vodafone said it has also doubled the capacity of its 4G low-band network in metropolitan areas. The move follows an 84% increase in data usage on the Vodafone network in 2015 compared to the previous year.
Hanssen said Vodafone will continue to take advantage of its spectrum assets to ensure the quality of its 4G network.
“Our customers’ mobile data usage continues to explode, largely driven by video traffic. To ensure we stay ahead of customer demand, we have doubled our low-band 4G capacity in metropolitan areas, and we will continue to repurpose our spectrum assets when needed,” said Hanssen.
In recent months, Vodafone has further allocated 2100MHz spectrum to its 4G network in Cairns and the Sunshine Coast to help provide “improved performance” for customers.
Vodafone also announced it has begun rolling out Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) capability to customers with compatible devices in most metropolitan areas. The new service includes the latest iPhones operating the latest version of iOS (iOS 9.3), according to Vodafone.
“We have reached an exciting stage in our rollout of VoLTE, and are pleased to deliver this enhancement to our customers,” Hanssen said.
“There’s still a lot of mileage left in 4G, and our customers will reap the benefits as we continue to roll out features such as VoLTE and Carrier Aggregation, and introduce Voice Over Wi-Fi in the future.”