In preparation for a hyper-connected smartphone future, Vodafone has today activated three separate 4G spectrum bands – 2600MHz, 1800MHz, and 700MHz – on a cell site in Northcote, creating three times the capacity of a single spectrum site – a first for New Zealand.
On the same site, Vodafone has launched next generation Carrier Aggregation technology, combining spectrum from 1800MHz and 2600MHz frequency bands to further boost its performance, speed and capacity.
The company says mobile data traffic is expected to grow by 1200% in the next three years, with 90% of its customers expected to have a smartphone by 2015.
Vodafone Director of Technology, Sandra Pickering, says Tri-Band Carrier Aggregation is an important investment to future-proof the network.
“We’re forecasting 4G mobile data traffic to grow by as much as 1200 percent in the next three years alone, so increased speed and capacity are vital for mobile operators to continue to deliver a consistently high-quality network experience.
“With Tri-Band 4G on a site, multiple users will be able to employ in excess of 350Mbps throughput capacity – the total capacity available at any given time – while our Carrier Aggregation of 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands will deliver speeds in excess of 250Mbps to a single user.
“The combined capacity created by using three spectrum bands caters for different device types to provide the optimum customer experience.”
Sandra continues: “4G will eventually become the primary mobile technology, and the true measure of our network success will be 4G with lower latency, and faster upload and download speeds. This can only be achieved with more efficient use of spectrum, which is exactly what we’ve done at Northcote. It’s all about continuing to be the network smartphones are made for.”
In May, Vodafone launched Dual-Band 4G at a single site in Auckland’s CBD in response to customers’ rapid adoption of the 4G service, becoming the first in New Zealand to use more than one spectrum band on a single cell site.
Vodafone’s Tri Band and Carrier Aggregation site is the first urban use of 700MHz in New Zealand, which delivers greater reach than other frequencies, and good in-building coverage.
Vodafone expects to have Carrier Aggregation devices commercially available on its network by the end of this year, or early 2015.