Vodafone selects Ericsson for metropolitan and rural broadband rollout

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Vodafone selects Ericsson for metropolitan and rural broadband rollout

Vodafone Australia has appointed Ericsson as its hardware and software vendor to support Vodafone’s national mobile broadband rollout, based on High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology, which is being tracked for completion in December 2008.

Vodafone claimed the national network upgrade will deliver HSPA technology to businesses and personal customers using Vodafone Mobile Connect data cards and USB modems. The vendor stated the upgrade will also improve Vodafone’s capacity to provide high-quality voice calls, SMS, video messaging and ‘Vodafone live!’ services such as mobile news and entertainment to customers in more areas.

Vodafone and Ericsson will deploy network engineering teams in all states and territories simultaneously to ensure more Vodafone customers in regional and rural Australia will also be able to benefit of HSPA mobile broadband coverage this year. In addition to upgrading all Vodafone 2G sites to 3.5G (HSPA), a significant proportion of high-demand sites in metropolitan areas covered by the Vodafone and Optus joint venture HSPA network sharing agreement will be upgraded to provide higher specification mobile data transmission.

In a statement to the media, Vodafone claimed it is upgrading its 900MHz and 2100MHz mobile network in regional and rural Australia with Ericsson’s latest hardware and software, which is rated to the 14.4Mbps maximum theoretical downlink standard and is amongst some of the highest specification equipment currently available for commercial deployment.

According to Russell Hewitt, CEO at Vodafone, mobile service provider, all Vodafone mobile phones and mobile broadband devices currently in use will continue to operate as normal.

However, customers who wish to take advantage of the enhanced mobile broadband download and upload speeds in rural and regional areas - while also enjoying the faster speeds in metropolitan mobile broadband areas - will need to upgrade their Vodafone mobile phones, mobile broadband data cards or USB modems.

Vodafone Australia will make further announcements in the coming months as it begins to market new mobile phones and devices that will provide customers with mobile broadband services in all areas.

“Australians deserve better mobile broadband services, and we think it’s time for Vodafone to provide greater competition for the benefit of customers in our regional cities and towns,” said Russell Hewitt, CEO at Vodafone Australia. “In addition to benefiting regional Australia, our national network upgrade will deliver significant increases in upload and download speeds for urban customers travelling outside the cities.”

According to Hewitt, Australia is a big country, so Vodafone has taken a pragmatic approach to its mobile broadband network investment and rollout.

“We’re upgrading our network in a way that enables Vodafone to maintain good cost control and consistently market great value deals to our customers. Vodafone’s national mobile broadband upgrade will change the way many more Australians look at their mobile phones and laptops,” he said.

The telco claimed the national network upgrade will expand Vodafone’s mobile broadband coverage to reach 95 percent of the areas where Australians live and work. Vodafone added that Ericsson was selected as its primary hardware and software vendor for the project because of the company’s proven technology solution and project management expertise.

Bill Zikou, CEO of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, said: “Ericsson is very pleased that Vodafone has chosen to install the highest specification mobile broadband technology commercially available today. Ericsson has many of Australia’s best network engineers already working on our rollout schedule and technology solution and our teams in all states and territories are keen to get started on this incredibly exciting project.”

“Vodafone markets the best products available and we’ll continue to enhance our mobile broadband network capabilities as new technology becomes available,” added Russell Hewitt.

The upgrade throughout regional and rural Australia is being undertaken as an exclusive project to benefit Vodafone customers. When complete, it will also improve network coverage and capacity for standard voice calls and SMS.

Vodafone will make further announcements throughout 2008 to give customers more detailed information on the schedule of work and mobile broadband launch dates for specific regions.

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