Shortly after Vodafone and Telstra announced a mutual split Vodafone Hutchinson has announced that the Vodafone and 3 networks will merge into a single network making full use of VHA’s base stations, core network, spectrum assets and global strategic vendor relationships.
“We are creating a stronger, better network for our customers, which will deliver a superior customer experience and support ever increasing levels of data usage and expanded areas of coverage,” said Nigel Dews, CEO of VHA. “We have already invested over $550million in our network and there is much more planned.”
Following the merger of Vodafone and 3 in 2009, the company has undertaken an extensive review of its network assets against the growth planned and customer needs.
The Vodafone and 3 networks will merge into a single network making full use of VHA’s base stations, core network, spectrum assets and global strategic vendor relationships. Investments include:
· 1,500 sites on a new 850MHz network with 350 sites already turned on and a further 50 expected to be live before the end of next month, providing more in building coverage and additional capacity for areas where data demand from smartphones and mobile broadband is high and growing.
· 1,400 new sites on the 3G network including 900 in capital cities to deepen network coverage.
· 500 new regional sites to support regional expansion and strengthen our city fringe and regional coverage.
· Femto cells. Trials are currently underway with our first business customers expected before Christmas. Femto cells will be commercially available at scale for businesses and consumers to get low cost, more flexible coverage into offices and homes in 2011.
· New transmission improvements including IP enablement, transmission consolidation and continued fibre roll out to connect many of these new and extended sites in metro areas, also helping us to connect to the National Broadband Network (NBN) in the future. These improvements will help us to provide customers with faster data speeds at lower cost.
· Successful LTE trials in the 1800MHz band with Huawei, near Newcastle NSW. Results achieved download speeds of up to 73Mbps, paving the way for the evolution to even higher data speeds for our customers.
Many initiatives will be completed next year. When we are able to connect to the NBN there will be further opportunities for network expansion and new services.
“Our continued investment is aimed at supporting the next phase of the mobile revolution. Data growth on our networks is exploding, particularly with more and more customers using multiple mobile devices like smartphones and iPads,” said Dews. “And we will do this in the most cost effective way we can, so that we can continue to deliver great value to our customers.”