+ Wednesday July 17th, 2019

Vodafone Logo

Vodafone have been busy it seems, with two announcements in as many days about their growth around Australia. First up is the news that their 4G network now reaches almost 23 million Australians.

4G network expansion

Under the network’s spectrum reform project, Vodafone’s holding of 850 MHz spectrum has been converted for use of its 4G network, increasing the footprint by some 20 per cent, extending the reach to more than 95 per cent of the Australian population  (calculated on 2011 census population distribution and current population figures).

This is rather good news, because lower frequency networks, including the 850 MHz band, provide higher quality indoor mobile coverage due to the greater signal propagation characteristics at this frequency. Vodafone’s 850 MHz network complements the existing 1800 MHz 4G network, and the carrier says that compatible handsets will be able to aggregate both networks to optimise their throughput on the go.

Vodafone’s CTO Benoit Hanssen had this to say about the news:

“We have spent billions of dollars over recent years to build a high performing 4G network throughout Australia for our customers. Now available in more places, our 4G network is faster and more resilient than ever before.

We are confident our network delivers a fantastic 4G experience for customers, and we’re willing to guarantee it by offering Australia’s only Network Happiness Guarantee. This means that if you sign up to a plan and you’re not happy in the first 30 days, you can cancel your contract and only pay for what you’ve used.”

VoLTE is coming

It isn’t just the size of Vodafone’s 4G network that’s growing, but also the utility. 4G is great for data, but most carriers require mobiles to drop back to 3G (or worse, 2G) to make actual phone calls. Vodafone has snuck out the announcement that its VoLTE (Voice over LTE) rollout is beginning in capital cities, and those with compatible devices will be able to access the feature soon.

Vodafone haven’t said much recently about which devices are compatible just yet, though it notes newer iPhones running iOS 9.3 are on the list. Sony and Samsung have handsets on the list too, but newer handsets like the Galaxy S7 aren’t yet mentioned.

We’ll check on this and see what’s happening in more detail.

Mobile black spot rollout schedule

Vodafone have also been busy working on reducing the incidence of blackspots, with a schedule of some 70 base stations to be built in regional areas of NSW, Victoria, Queensland, and WA released today. Vodafone’s Dan Lloyd had this to say:

“We believe the Mobile Black Spot Programme is a great way to encourage competition and choice of mobile provider, which is something many people living in regional and rural areas have never experienced.

Vodafone’s rollout of mobile black spot sites is progressing well, with the first location at White Rock Mountain, west of Glenn Innes, in New South Wales switched on in December 2015. A further 28 sites in New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania will follow this year, with all 70 sites to be completed by the end of 2017.

We look forward to having a presence in these communities and offering more customers in regional Australia the great service and value we provide on our network, which now covers 97% of Australia’s population.”

The full rollout schedule, for those who want to know the details, is as follows:

Base station NameBase station IdentifierStateEstimated completion by
White Rock MountainMBSP-NSW-118NSWCompleted – Q4 2015
ElsmoreMBSP-NSW-052NSW2016 – Q2
InvergowrieMBSP-NSW-065NSW2016 – Q2
ManildraMBSP-NSW-079NSW2016 – Q2
CargoMBSP-NSW-029NSW2016 – Q2
WoodstockMBSP-NSW-141NSW2016 – Q2
CooyarMBSP-QLD-019QLD2016 – Q2
WalchaMBSP-NSW-130NSW2016 – Q3
KumbiaMBSP-QLD-042QLD2016 – Q3
Capricorn HighwayMBSP-QLD-014QLD2016 – Q3
BothwellMBSP-TAS-003TAS2016 – Q3
HamiltonMBSP-TAS-011TAS2016 – Q3
Fossickers WayMBSP-NSW-056NSW2016 – Q4
ManillaMBSP-NSW-080NSW2016 – Q4
WestdaleMBSP-NSW-137NSW2016 – Q4
Castlereagh Highway (Ben Bullen)MBSP-NSW-030NSW2016 – Q4
CumnockMBSP-NSW-042NSW2016 – Q4
JemalongMBSP-NSW-066NSW2016 – Q4
UngarieMBSP-NSW-128NSW2016 – Q4
WeethalleMBSP-NSW-135NSW2016 – Q4
TabbitaMBSP-NSW-120NSW2016 – Q4
Mid Western Hwy (Gunbar)MBSP-NSW-085NSW2016 – Q4
Lowesdale (Riverina Hwy)MBSP-NSW-112NSW2016 – Q4
SavernakeMBSP-NSW-116NSW2016 – Q4
BoynesideMBSP-QLD-010QLD2016 – Q4
CroweaMBSP-WA-023WA2016 – Q4
SteppesMBSP-TAS-012TAS2016 – Q4
Little SwanportMBSP-TAS-029TAS2016 – Q4
PioraMBSP-NSW-109NSW2017 – Q1
TabulamMBSP-NSW-022NSW2017 – Q1
BarrabaMBSP-NSW-008NSW2017 – Q1
AttungaMBSP-NSW-004NSW2017 – Q1
HallsvilleMBSP-NSW-061NSW2017 – Q1
Oxley ValeMBSP-NSW-105NSW2017 – Q1
PiallamoreMBSP-NSW-107NSW2017 – Q1
Pilliga Forrest (Newell Hwy)MBSP-NSW-100NSW2017 – Q1
OakdeneMBSP-NSW-104NSW2017 – Q1
MolongMBSP-NSW-088NSW2017 – Q1
EugowraMBSP-NSW-054NSW2017 – Q1
GooloogongMBSP-NSW-059NSW2017 – Q1
CultowaMBSP-NSW-041NSW2017 – Q1
NoonbinnaMBSP-NSW-101NSW2017 – Q1
Mid Western Hwy (Gunbar South)MBSP-NSW-086NSW2017 – Q1
DuriMBSP-NSW-050NSW2017 – Q1
DingoMBSP-QLD-025QLD2017 – Q1
YelvertoftMBSP-QLD-003QLD2017 – Q1
BodallinMBSP-WA-046WA2017 – Q1
MienaMBSP-TAS-017TAS2017 – Q1
TarraleahMBSP-TAS-028TAS2017 – Q1
PyenganaMBSP-TAS-021TAS2017 – Q1
BichenoMBSP-TAS-002TAS2017 – Q1
SwanseaMBSP-TAS-025TAS2017 – Q1
BucklandMBSP-TAS-005TAS2017 – Q1
Culmaran CreekMBSP-NSW-040NSW2017 – Q2
Mount CarringtonMBSP-NSW-090NSW2017 – Q2
Sandy HillsMBSP-NSW-021NSW2017 – Q2
WarralMBSP-NSW-121NSW2017 – Q2
MoonbiMBSP-NSW-089NSW2017 – Q2
BillimariaMBSP-NSW-012NSW2017 – Q2
KoorawathaMBSP-NSW-071NSW2017 – Q2
Manna MountainMBSP-NSW-081NSW2017 – Q2
Lake CorellaMBSP-QLD-005QLD2017 – Q2
BrandumMBSP-TAS-004TAS2017 – Q2
WayatinahMBSP-TAS-015TAS2017 – Q2
TakoneMBSP-TAS-026TAS2017 – Q2
GoshenMBSP-TAS-010TAS2017 – Q2
ApslawnMBSP-TAS-001TAS2017 – Q2
Okehampton BeachMBSP-TAS-020TAS2017 – Q2
Verona SandsMBSP-TAS-030TAS2017 – Q2
Glen ValleyMBSP-VIC-042VIC2017 – Q3

As with any plans, this list is subject to change, but if you’re in these areas, you might find that your mobile coverage will increase, and blackspots will reduce, in the coming year or so.

Chris Rowland   Managing Editor

Chris Rowland

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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Phill Edwards
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Phill Edwards

I was with Voda until recently and they were mostly good. I moved away to Aldi because I had poor coverage in my house with calls dropping, and on a trip to Port Macquarie I found the coverage very poor so thought I’d try Telstra’s network.

vijay alapati
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vijay alapati

Still a VodaFail for me, never ever again with vodafone, their reception sucks when ur in lift or, above level 15 or in lower grounds…..and not to mention frequent disconnects

Chris
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Can’t say I’ve experienced these issues Vijay. Maybe I’m in a great coverage area, but about the only place Vodafone doesn’t work at all is Whale Beach, NSW … but nothing works there.

vijay alapati
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vijay alapati

I’m in Melbourne, may be Sydney has great coverage.

Pumpino
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Pumpino

I despise Telstra as a company and don’t rate Optus much better, but I have to admit that I admire Vodafone. Maybe it’s cause I like going for the underdog, but it has really produced a solid network and appears to operate with more decency towards its customers.

Chris
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It really does seem that way. We work with all three carriers, and I’d say we have a good relationship with each, but the news from Vodafone is usually more upbeat, positive, and well received. I think people are starting to realise they’re quite humbled by what happened a few years back, and they’ve worked damned hard to build back from it.

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