Home Telecoms & NBN Vodafone more than a little proud of new 4G coverage at two sites in regional QLD

Vodafone more than a little proud of new 4G coverage at two sites in regional QLD

Vodafone has switched on a new mobile site at Kumbia near Kingaroy in regional Queensland, with another site near Boyneside set to follow “in the coming months.”

Vodafone is celebrating the addition of two regional spots with new 4G voice and data connectivity.

The company launched new 4G connectivity at “Kumbia near Kingaroy” alongside Federal Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, but whether everyone got into a group to sing Kumbaya afterwards is unlikely, as we presume everyone present was genuinely friendly and thankful for the new site coverage.

Indeed, the spirit of friendship would have been strong, given Kumbia has gone live and Boyneside is set to do so thanks to the federal government’s Mobile Black Spot Program.

We are told these new 4G sites “will see voice and data coverage provided to an additional 220 square kilometres, including 50 kilometres along roads in the area including the Bunya Highway, Kearneys Road and Kumbia- Brooklands Road".

Naturally, Vodafone says its “new sites in Kumbia and Boyneside are the latest step in Vodafone’s continued push to give people more mobile services choice across Australia".

These two sites aren’t the only places where Vodafone is building more regional coverage. Its “regional mobile investment map” page is where Vodafone states it is “planning to construct 112 new mobile towers in regional Australia; 74 of which are part of the Australian Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program".

Even so, Vodafone is also “campaigning for regulatory reforms that would deliver Australia’s best opportunity to drive mobile investment in regional areas”, and while Telstra opposes this vigorously as it would give Vodafone access to the sites Telstra already has in operation, the entire issue still in the hands of the ACCC, and now the Federal Court.

This is because a “draft decision” back in May saw the ACCC state its decision against declaration of mobile roaming, and while this decision still isn’t absolutely final, Vodafone Hutchison Australia has taken the ACCC to Federal Court over the issue.

Whatever the eventual outcome of that battle, Rhys Morgan, Vodafone’s regional manager, keeps his eyes on existing Mobile Black Spots when he declares that: “We’re pleased to be expanding the 4G footprint in the Maranoa Electorate as part of the Mobile Black Spot Program. With mobile access a critical part of everyday life, the importance of this program, coupled with the telco industry working together to achieve the best outcome for the population, cannot be understated.”

And, seeking to amplify the company’s commitment to investing in regional areas “where it makes sense to do so”, Vodafone reminds us that the sites at Kumbia and Boyneside “are in addition to the Vodafone sites completed recently at Cooyar and Drillham, which are part of an investment of over $1 million by Vodafone in the Maranoa electorate between 2015 and the end of 2017".

Littleproud noted that residents of Kumbia and Boyneside would be able to take advantage of 4G services thanks to Vodafone’s investment in the region, and stating that: “the building and strengthening of network connections through the Federal Government’s Mobile Phone Black Spot Program is crucial to Maranoa’s future prosperity.

“Mobile black spots in the area have long hindered emergency services, business and tourism – that’s why this programme is so important for rural communities,” he added.

This is then where we get to hear from the Minister for Regional Communications, Fiona Nash, who added that “the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program would deliver 765 mobile phone towers covering some 4400 coverage black spots across the nation, extending new and upgraded handheld coverage to 86,300 square kilometres of regional and remote Australia.”

Nash added: “I aim to help build the kinds of communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to, and good telecommunications is a big part of that.

“Being a farmer myself, I know how important mobile coverage is and I’m proud the Coalition is delivering it to Kumbia and Boyneside.”

Then there’s the reassuring news that Vodafone customers “won’t need to upgrade their smartphone”.

Of course, if your smartphone is particularly ancient, you might need to, but Morgan noted that “all the major smartphones already work on Vodafone’s low-band 4G 850MHz network, including the popular iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models".

Morgan added: “This means customers will see the 4G or LTE symbol on their phone more often."

We are then reminded that “low-band spectrum, such as 850MHz, is well suited to providing high quality indoor mobile coverage as the lower frequency signal penetrates buildings better than higher frequency signals. Low-band spectrum is also well suited to providing coverage over broad areas in regional Australia".

Unsurprisingly, Vodafone seeks to ramp up excitement and interest in its added 4G coverage in Kumbia and soon, Boyneside, by reminding us of its 30-Day Network Satisfaction Guarantee.

Seeing as existing users would presumably need to be on Telstra, Vodafone is letting customers who port their numbers have 30 days to see whether the new coverage works in all the areas they need it to for their work, lives and travel into and out of the area.

The deal allows new post-paid customers to cancel their contract, no questions asked, within 30 days, with a “refund of any monthly access fees and monthly handset instalments paid by the customer as long as the equipment and device are returned to a Vodafone store within 10 days of making the claim".

You’ll “still pay for any non-standard plan inclusions” if you use these, and the 30-Day Network Satisfaction Guarantee “is also available for business customers with up to nine connections".

Vodafone is also “offering unlimited data (for personal use only) for the first month to new customers who sign up to a selected 12- or 24-month phone plan to use within Australia” in addition to the Network Satisfaction Guarantee, which Vodafone says demonstrates the company is “prepared to walk the talk on network satisfaction and ultimately put the power in people’s hands".

Morgan concluded by stating that “Our Network Satisfaction Guarantee is an invitation for Australians who may be feeling unsatisfied with their current provider to experience everything Vodafone has to offer.

“We continue to invest in our 4G network and the results are evident – our network is performing better than ever. The Network Satisfaction Guarantee demonstrates our commitment to being transparent about our network performance. With our new programme, people don’t need to take our word for it, they can experience the difference for themselves.”

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.