The news is the latest in Vodafone's ongoing 'comeback' narrative, which has seen customers return to it 'in droves' after the much-publicised Vodafails of past years.
The new deployment of 4G coverage on low-band 850MHz spectrum in Adelaide today follows similar launches in the ACT and Tasmania, and the telco now has over a million 4G users across Australia.
Vodafone’s Chief Technical Officer Benoit Hanssen said in a statement all customers in Adelaide with 4G 850 capable smartphones and tablets will now enjoy better data coverage in more places.
“Customers will immediately notice the difference right across Adelaide and its outer suburbs following a mass switch on of new 4G coverage today,” Hanssen said.
“The type of spectrum we’ve used to roll this out is known as low-band, which means it works better indoors, including homes, businesses, shopping malls and car parks.”
The telco said in July it would re-farm its 850MHz spectrum to boost its 4G coverage, which Vodafone says will be compatible with "the majority" of smartphones.
“We’ve tested all the major smartphones to see how they perform on our new 4G network, including the popular iPhone 5 and 6 models and Samsung Galaxy. What it means for customers is that they’ll notice the 4G symbol on their phone more often, meaning they have faster download speeds,” Hanssen said.
The digital dividend 700 MHz spectrum will become available from the end of the year, but Hanssen points out it will need new handsets.
“Australian smartphone customers already have handsets that will work on Vodafone’s low-band 4G 850 MHz network. But very few of the smartphones sold in Australia since the introduction of 4G support the APT 700 MHz spectrum. Telstra and Optus customers will therefore require a new device in order to experience low-band 4G services,” said Hanssen.
As iTWire's Graeme Philipson reported in July, Australia’s three main carriers have been involved in a long running war of words over whose network offers the most coverage, and which is fastest.
Telstra in particular has been protective of its turf, taking Optus to court over the extent of its claimed geographic coverage, and threatening to do the same to Vodafone over its speed claims. Vodafone now simply says it offers ‘superfast’ data speeds in Sydney and Melbourne, where it currently has more bandwidth than Optus or Telstra.
Telstra is relying on its greater coverage across Australia, which enables it to charge a premium. Optus has extensive coverage and is using its unique use of TDD (time division multiplexing) to boost data speeds, and Vodafone is relying on the unique characteristics of its spectrum holding to claim an advantage. It is also cheaper than its rivals.