Vodafone trials 5G services in 700MHz spectrum in Sydney

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Vodafone trials 5G services in 700MHz spectrum in Sydney

To improve indoor coverage.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia is starting to trial 5G services using 700MHz spectrum at an undisclosed number of 5G sites in and around Parramatta in Sydney’s west.

The telco is using Nokia AirScale equipment for the field trial, which the vendor said is the “first 5G low-band NR700MHz deployment in a field test environment in Australia and the Asia Pacific region”.

Parramatta was the first location in Australia where VHA switched on its 5G network back in early March, and the telco has published coverage maps here, which gives some indication of the potential size of the 700MHz field trial.

Currently, Vodafone’s 5G network operates in the 3.5GHz band. 

The 700MHz band is mostly associated with 4G service delivery in Australia, although not by Vodafone, which purchased only a small amount of the spectrum back in 2017.

Internationally, in markets such as China, 700MHz spectrum is being repurposed to deliver 5G services.

Nokia said in a statement that, once live, “the use of 700MHz spectrum will enhance VHA’s 5G network coverage, improve the indoor coverage experience and deliver high-speed 5G connectivity to customers where it is being made available.” 

“Combined with its 5G spectrum in the 3.5GHz band, VHA will be equipped to deliver a compelling combination of speed, capacity and coverage to its customers,” it said.

“The 700MHz spectrum will be rolled out to selected areas as part of VHA’s 5G rollout.”

Nokia said its Global Services business “will play a crucial role” in that expansion, “providing project planning, installation, and network optimisation services.” 

“Where it optimises network performance, Nokia and Vodafone experts will repurpose the 700MHz spectrum to 5G 700MHz enabling the delivery of new 5G services, whilst maintaining the performance of the existing 4G network,” it said.

Vodafone struck a minimum five year deal with Nokia on December 30 last year to underpin its 5G network, having been unable to use Huawei gear owing to a government ban.

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