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Vodafone Australia and Huawei announce improvements to national mobile network

Posted on 22-Feb-2011 16:47 | Filed under: News

Vodafone today announced that it will replace all 2G and 3G equipment at all base stations throughout Australia as part of its overall plan to improve mobile coverage and download speeds.

“We’re installing the latest technology from the company that we believe is the best network hardware and software vendor in the world to deliver a better mobile experience to our customers,” said Nigel Dews, CEO at Vodafone.

“I’d like to thank our customers for giving us such detailed feedback on our network over the last few months,” added Dews. “We’re now using our customers’ insights and recommendations to improve our network performance.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do but we have a very clear picture of what needs to be done. We start immediately so many customers should start to see and experience real improvements in the network,” said Nigel Dews.

Vodafone has prioritised its national 2G and 3G radio access network (RAN) replacement project at all base stations throughout Australia with engineers targeting the most congested and highest demand sites first. Vodafone will replace all radio equipment at around 8,000 sites over the next 18 months.

Vodafone will replace around 5,800 existing 2G and 3G base station sites with Huawei’s SingleRAN solution, which is capable of delivering 2G, 3G and, later, 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) from a single base station site. Vodafone will also install the new Huawei network equipment at more than 2,200 new sites that it will bring into its network over the next 18 months.

Peter Rossi, Chief Technology Officer at Huawei Australia, said: “This network upgrade will allow Vodafone to offer cutting edge mobile speeds and services across its mobile network. Huawei’s SingleRAN solution will enable Vodafone to upgrade to 4G or LTE at the flick of a switch, with the first LTE next generation services expected to come online later this year.”

Vodafone confirmed that all customers’ mobile phones and mobile broadband devices will remain compatible with the new radio equipment that is being rolled out across the network.

Vodafone will also replace its radio network controller (RNC) equipment with the latest Huawei technology, which will be located at sites in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. The RNC equipment serves as a hub that is used to control and optimise the performance of the national mobile network.

The new network equipment that is being installed is based on the maximum theoretical standards of 42MBps. Vodafone is also working with Huawei to prepare the Vodafone network for an upgrade to 4G or LTE – the next generation of mobile technology capable of delivering maximum theoretical download speeds of up to 150Mbps. Vodafone and Huawei undertook live trials of LTE technology in Newcastle during the last quarter of 2010 and achieved download speeds of up to 74.3 Mbps, under test conditions.

The scale of the upgrade project will see Huawei recruit 300 new technical staff in Australia, as well as an expected 200 additional subcontractors, which will more than double Huawei’s current number of staff in Australia.