Vodafone has begun the first tests of its 4G network, ahead of a nationwide rollout tipped to start by the middle of this year.
The third-tier telco follows Telstra and Optus in moving to 4G, after struggles to overhaul its 3G network and rebuild its reputation.
Vodafone's entry into the 4G market will likely spur price competition from its competitors, and definitely provide business travellers with another high-speed option for keeping in touch on the move and sidestepping outrageous hotel Internet charges.
Vodafone's initial tests, conducted in the eastern suburbs of Sydney with base stations at Alexandria, Bronte and Randwick, yielded download speeds "as high as 67Mbps and upload test in the 25-30Mbps range", according to a post on Vodafone's blog – with a snap of the Speedtest app to prove it.
Vodafone claims that real-world download speeds when the 4G network is switched on later this year will top out at 40Mbps if you're using one of the latest smartphones.
The carrier is also trumpeting its 20MHz slices of 4G spectrum compares to the 10MHz of Telstra and 15MHz of Optus as being like a highway, with "twice the number of lanes to carry traffic than a 10MHz highway, meaning if you’re a tablet or smartphone user, you’re likely to experience less traffic congestion on a bigger (20MHz) highway."
"Over the course of the year, when more 'Category 4' devices become available (smartphones built especially to perform at even faster speeds on 20MHz highways), this is when our customers who have these smartphones in hand will really fly!"
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