It has been a little over a year since Vodafone introduced its 4G service into the market, and it’s now up to 100 new 4G sites per month. In a bid to turbo-charge the deployment even further, Vodafone has just announced a massive network refarming plan to get 4G to the people by the end of the year.
Vodafone today announced that it would refarm much of its 850MHz spectrum currently being used on its 3G network in order to roll out better 4G service to more customers around the country. Refarming 850MHz is a sensible idea, since low frequency mobile services work better over long distances and penetrate buildings better for a more consistent 4G network.
It’s calculated that a majority of the phones in Vodafone’s network already support the 850MHz band so customers won’t have to upgrade their device to be compatible.
Vodafone’s chief technology officer Benoit Hanssen said that it will be a balancing act over the next year to make sure the customer experience on the 3G network doesn’t suffer as a result of the refarming operation to 4G.
The 850MHz 3G service currently occupies 10MHz of concurrent spectrum. Initially, the refarming operation will slice that in half to give 5MHz of spectrum to 4G customers, leaving the other half of the spectrum on the 3G network. To make sure that the customer experience doesn’t deteriorate on the 3G network, the telco has already refarmed its 900MHz offering to take the load. The first half of the refarming operations will be completed by the end of the year, with the remainder to be finished off in 2015.
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