Member log in

Vodafone gearing up for surprise 4G launch Thursday? A trace of evidence

[UPDATE: Vodafone did launch 4G on Thursday]

Is superfast model data close than we think? 4G or "LTE" will allow everything from downloading high def movies on the go to extra capacity that could mean you can actually use your phone at an All Blacks game or big concert.

Conventional wisdom holds we won't see commercial 4G rollouts until the government's spectrum auction in the third quarter.

A couple of usually reliable telco industry insiders have told me Vodafone is gearing up for a 4G/LTE launch. One says it could come within days. One source said this Thursday, February 28.

"This is a full-on public launch, not a trial [like Telecom's with a handful of customers], All the testing has been done," says a source. The upgrade was carried out by Vodafone's long-time networkk partner Nokia Siemens Network (NSN).

The media are, apparently, chumps for not being on the case.

I found a trace of evidence over the weekend.

I was over on Auckland's North Shore, one of two areas involved in Telecom's recently launched 4G trial (the other is Lower Hutt).

While having tweaking around with my Huawei 4G data stick, I set it to manually seek carriers at one point ... and what should come up but Vodafone LTE (and it's already been noted too that the latest version of of the  iOS software that runs Apple's iPhone has added carrier support for LTE).

I put this finding to Vodafone. A spokeswoman would only offer, "LTE or 4G is an important part of our technology roadmap. Our focus has been on building our [3G] Dual Carrier network and upgrading our Auckland network to double capacity and increase speed."

Ah, yes, that upgrade of 350 of 400 cellsites over Auckland Annivesary weekend - just how much of a speed boost did those towers get? Enough to for a 4G launch without waiting for the government's 700MHz auction, by one estimate. It helps that Vodafone gained extra 1800MHz and 2100MHz spectrum (which can also be used for 4G) when it bought TelstraClear.

We could soon find out.

Also look for Vodafone to give its leg of the RBI a bit of LTE turbo-boosting.

Though don't get too excited. We might be looking at a trial rather than a commercial launch ... and said commercial launch, once it comes, will only fly if data plans suddenly get a whole lot more generous (so you don't blow your monthly cap within two hours when you take advantage of that fabled 4G ability to download a high def movie).

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions
18

No point having the additional mobile speeds unless the currently high mobile data charges decline. Still better to use fibre wifi in the office or home.

When are they going to get their 3G network working well?

I get over 20Mbps all the time on the Vodafone Dual carrier network

As I do too, and get at least this on Telecom too. They both have dual carrier working in just as many places.
Now you should see the speeds both are getting on their new launch platforms.......

There is nothing wrong with Vodafone's 3G Network.

Unless you have a Dual Carrier device - you will NOT experience the faster 3G Speeds.

My experience has been excellent - I use the Samsung GS3 - Dual Carrier/LTE phone & average 17-30Mbit Speeds all over Auckland, included the suburbs - it's extremely FAST!

I have also seen a significant improvement in signal strength around Auckland, since Vodafone NZ turned on U900Mhz.

Good work Vodafone - keep it up!

So have they already improved reception? I used to not be able to get a signal in my home in central Auckland other than by standing on top of the fence on my deck - not great for long phone calls when you have had a few (although it was only after a few that I discovered the sweet spot). And a few friends who work for Voda had to get a pico-cell to get reception at their places on the Shore.

After moving to Telecom I didn't get any issues but, after Telecom's recent failures I have started to lose confidence in them so, if Voda's reception issues have gone away, I may be tempted to look at their deals again!

Too little, too late...
and sure to be too expensive !

Phone upgrade time ?
Not until its free !!

What a stupid comment even if this rumor was true why should it be free? You think NSN or Ericsson ETC did the 4G upgrade for free, No hope for the human race these days....me me me free free free free

People like this should be kicked out of the NZ Gene Pool. Free? What the? Too little too late? Where are you from?

I found the same thing on the North Shore.

Time to get myself a 4G device! If this is true, good on you vodafone!

Sorry it isn't about 4 G... but Vodafone's planned entry into IP TV.

Sky Tv shouldn't be too worried.

If this is true then sucks to be Telecom, Vodafone will LOL at them

Sarah.........never count the horse that looks to be in the lead until the finish line has been crossed. VF, TNZ or 2D are all planning the same thing. They all have capability to launch LTE, being first to launch may not be the sign of a winner. And even is VF launch 4G, will it be fast HSPA, or LTE, and will it only be 2x2 MIMO. Who will then launch 4x4 MIMO and multi carrier aggregation. Have you seen the test results from VF and TNZ lately.......... very level playing field.

Have you seen the results of the report that epetario did on data speeds in Auckland and Wellington?
I definitely would not call that level!

I note Telstra in Aussie are now testing LTE Advanced. New Zealand is well behind the 8 ball.

Guess what.......are you sure LTE Advanced isn't being tested.?
Those that know will say it is being tested.

I just got LTE on my Voda device, bit bummed about having to charge an extra 10 bucks per month on my already hefty plan, but alas, were here.