Vodafone Australia kicks off planned LTE upgrades

Vodafone Hutchison Australia has announced that next week it will start its programme to upgrade over 5,800 base stations across the country, with a view to bringing LTE services online later this year.

The move follows months of customer unrest and over poor network performance, which back in February saw VHA announce a complete overhaul of its network of 2G and 3G base stations with Huawei’s SingleRAN LTE solutions.

Vodafone said it would start to replace equipment at an initial five sites and that while it would look to complete this work by 3 May 2011 it warned that the benefits would not be immediate.

“Our plan is to minimise disruption to customers in the area and absolutely maximise network performance.” Vodafone chief technology officer Michael Young said in a statement. “The changes to our network equipment will happen overnight, but the actual improvements in network performance and experience will take a couple of months to be fully realised.”

“Customers in upgraded areas can expect to see stronger coverage and greater reliability from the Vodafone network, and ultimately – as we continue to introduce other new technologies and capacity into the network throughout the year – they will experience better indoor coverage and faster data speeds.”

The deployment is seen as a big win for Huawei, replacing incumbent vendors Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks.

Huawei has been nominated for an award in the upcoming Informa LTE Awards, due to be held on 17 May at the LTE World Summit 2011.

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