Vodafone chief tempers 5G talk

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Vodafone chief tempers 5G talk

Ecosystem must be in place.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) chief Iñaki Berroeta has sought to temper expectations about the imminent rise of 5G networks in Australia, saying although his company is forging ahead, he doesn’t anticipate consumer devices to be in market until at least the end of 2019.

Speaking to the carrier’s financial results for the six months to 30th June 2018 on Tuesday, Berroeta said despite having done a number of trials on 5G technology “in terms of disclosing when we will be going to the market, I think it’s a bit early.”

Berroeta declined to talk about any spectrum ambitions for Australian 5G, instead stressing that the new “ecosystem” for the mobile technology need to be put into place first before carriers started pushing product.

He said he expected “most of the market” would be launching 5G either side of a one or two month window period when it arrived.

“So yeah, there is a lot of work that has to be done before the launch, we are really working hard,” Berroeta said.

This included the “virtualisation of our core network” as well as work on the “radio side of the network” he said.

These could be implemented at the same time VHA was “phasing off 4G”.

Berroeta similarly reality-checked some of the marketing efforts around the much vaunted leap in mobile technology.

“We [will] also do a few stunts, or demos and things like that … but that’s not really the core of the 5G launch,” the VHA chief said.

Vodafone’s financial results, meanwhile, are looking somewhat more encouraging, despite landing in the red.

The carrier booked a $92.3million loss for the half year, an increase of 16.9 percent year-on-year which the carrier attributed to depreciation and amortization costs flowing from its 2017 spectrum licence purchases and accounting changes.

Total revenue for the reporting period increased 7.1 percent year-on-year to $1.76 billion, while EBITDA increased 6.8 per cent YoY to $509.7 million.

The company reported a five percent year-on-year increase in customer base to 5.98 million customers, up 294,000.

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