Following recent criticism, Vodafone has gone hell for leather, announcing a revamped network which will have 2G, 3G, 4G or LTE capabilities.
Vodafone has announced that its national equipment upgrade program will kick off next week in the Central Coast, Newcastle and Hunter regions.
The news comes as the No.3 telco comes under fire from users for poor network coverage and slow data speeds, which Vodafone blamed on an overburdened network. The widespread failure even inspired a customer website dedicated to poor coverage, called vodafail.com.
“Customers in parts of the Central Coast, Newcastle and Hunter region first to experience the benefits of improved mobile network coverage, capacity and performance,” it said today.
On Tuesday, 19 April next Vodafone engineers will install new mobile network at five existing base stations from Ourimbah to Toukley on the NSW Central Coast, work which it says it will conduct during a two-hour window in the early hours of the morning.
The new equipment will deliver 2G, 3G and, later, 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) from a single station. This comes as rival Telstra announced its LTE rollout earlier this year and Optus are also engaging in 4G trials.
It’s “first LTE next generation services expected to come online later this year,” VHA confirmed.
It will upgrade 44 base station sites in NSW from Ourimbah, throughout Newcastle City and suburbs, and along a north-west corridor stretching to Springvale in the Hunter Valley and will replace and install radio equipment at around 8,000 sites over the next 18 months, using Huawei network solutions.
Customers can expect the upgrade to lead to “stronger coverage and greater reliability”
as well as better indoor coverage and faster data speeds from the
Vodafone network, said Chief Technology Officer, Michael Young.
However, don’t expect it to happen overnight as it “will take a couple of months to be fully realised,” Young warned.
Huawei’s SingleRAN solution will also enable users to upgrade to 4G or LTE “at the flick of a switch.” All customers’ mobile phones and mobile broadband devices will remain compatible with the new equipment.
The work will cease for the Easter public holidays, and recommence Wednesday 27th with plans to complete the installation by May, followed by a testing period.
“The changes to our network equipment will happen overnight, but the actual improvements in network performance and experience will take a couple of months to be fully realised.”
In consideration to customers who may be affected, Vodafone will send an SMS alert to all 2G voice and 3G Mobile Broadband customers who have used any of the base stations scheduled for overnight upgrade during the last four weeks, advising them of the two-hour outage.
Most 3G voice and smartphone customers will not be affected by the first upgrade on 19 April. Progressive updates will follow to advise customers on any scheduled outages.