Earlier this year Vodafone announced plans to use the 850MHz network to extend the reach of their 4G network. Today Vodafone has switched on 678 new 4G towers running LTE on the 850MHz frequency in Melbourne with another 71 being switched on in the next six weeks. The new network has been named 4G+ – the plus calling to mind the frequency’s ability to give greater coverage.
The 850MHz spectrum used by Vodafone allows for greater penetration indoors, in all buildings, “including homes, businesses, shopping centres and car parks” as the lower frequency has greater penetration characteristics than their other LTE frequency, 1800MHz – much the same benefits Telstra is able to claim on their new “4GX” network. Vodafone says they’ve tested it on all of their major smartphones (including the “Samsung Galaxy”, apparently) and the result was faster download speeds more often with the 4G or LTE symbol showing more often.
We did a few random speed tests over the weekend around Melbourne, and every single time our Vodafone SIM smoked Telstra’s service, but whether Vodafone’s new 4G+ service was already turned on over the weekend is not quite known.
One thing for certain is that switching on this many extra 4G+ towers will result in not only greater coverage for users but also faster speeds with less congestion and greater signal.
As a user, you don’t have to do anything different. If your phone supports the 850MHz LTE band, just sit back and enjoy the greater LTE coverage and speeds. It is unknown when this will arrive in other cities but earlier this year Vodafone said that by the end of the year they will cover 95% of the metropolitan population with 4G coverage.
#edit# Vodafone have today stated to us that their MBB (pocket Wifi) devices will act the same as their 4G phones. “They will connect to the new network, no settings need to be changed.”
How does Vodafone’s 4G+ service appeal to you? Tell us in the comments!