Forget plain boring 4G mobiles - Vodafone pushes turbocharged "Cat 4"
With Telecom's 4G launch imminent, Vodafone is today pushing the fact its 4G network now supports "Category 4" 4G devices - allowing for turbocharged 4G.
Using an iPhone 5 (an example of a 4G-capable smartphone with a theoretical top speed of 100Mbit/s), NBR has hit more than 71Mbit/s mobile download speeds on Vodafone's 4G network, which is now live in parts of most main centres. For context, that's 10 times the bandwidth most people get from their landline broadband, let alone mobile.
With a Category 4 4G device, theoretical maximum speed jumps from 100Mbit/s to 150Mbit/s (the broad 4G or fourth generation mobile spec is divided into eight categories. Cat 8, in case you were wondering, calls for 3Gbit/s devices. No one's thought about making one yet - but some wonder if one day they'll make the UFB redundant).
Vodafone has two Cat 4 4G device today - Sony's Xperia Z1 smartphone (also available through Telecom - although Telecom doesn't launch 4G until November 12) and the Note 3.
It has others on the way, including Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 (onsale not from Telecom and Vodafone but exclusive to Telecom coupled with Samsung's new Galaxy Gear smartwatch - or at least until November 10 when Vodafone gets the Gear too).
And there are three more Cat 4 devices "coming soon" to Vodafone, namely Cat 4 versions of three existing products in its lineup: Samsung's Galaxy 4 smartphone, the Vodafone Pocket WiFi R215 and the Vodafone Mobile Broadband Vodem K5150.
Vodafone's Cat 4 advantage will be short-lived.
A Telecom spokeswoman tells NBR, "Our 4G network will support Cat4 devices and we will definitely have Cat4 devices available on the network at launch [on November 12]. At this point, we’re not revealing any more details on devices."
The aforementioned Sony Xperia Z1 and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 are already in Telecom's range.
And some of those on Telecom's pre-launch 4G trial have been using Cat 4-capable Huawei data sticks.
In case you were wondering - no, the new iPhone 5s and 5c do not support Cat 4.
But at a time when the top mobile data plans top out at a tiny 3GB (that is, less than one HD movie download), it's pretty academic whether your mobile supports Cat 4 4G, or not.