After pulling out of the initial auction to distribute 700MHz spectrum in Australia, Vodafone Australia has today announced they have successfully acquired 700MHz spectrum in the latest auction.

The result of the latest Auction sees Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) the proud owners of 2x 5MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band, expanding on their current offering of 4G spectrum in the 850MH, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands. Though Vodafone initially expressed interest in acquiring 2x 10MHz of 700MHz spectrum, Vodafone has since refarmed existing spectrum for use in their 4G network. Vodafone ended up paying $286 million for the 2x 5MHz spectrum, which, as Vodafone points out equates to $1.25 per MHz, per head of population.

The low band 700MHz spectrum will allow for better 4G coverage on the Vodafone network, the lower band allows for much better building penetration, as well as options for future carrier aggregation on their LTE bands to offer faster overall speeds.

Along with the 700MHz spectrum, Vodafone also renewed their license for spectrum in the 2100MHz band for $544 million. Vodafone has chosen to renew their license for the 2100MHz spectrum to reduce the need for increasing spectrum holdings in the next few years. With the addition of the 700MHz spectrum, Vodafone says they now have the ‘second largest metropolitan low-band spectrum holding, and the largest holdings in the key 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands.’

With the addition of 700MHz to their 4G offerings, the new standard bands for all three carriers in Australia are Band 3 (1800MHz) and Band 28 (700MHz). This new spectrum should also be available to Vodafone MVNO’s like Kogan Mobile.

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    “much better building penetration” … Yay! I work in the heart of Melbourne City (Bourke Street). In my building, my Vodafone service drops to HSDPA speed. Outside, I get 4G without an issue. But inside the building, on Level 8 and sitting right next to a window, I get HSDPA. This is enough for me to churn away from Vodafone but I am willing to see if the situation improves now that they have purchased the 700MHz spectrum.