Video: Now this is the ultimate network reliability test. Vodafone rigged a $300,000-plus BMW M6 race car with three Samsung Galaxy S7 phones, blacked out the windscreen, and set up three Samsung tablets in front of the steering wheel to stream real-time video from the phones' cameras over its 4G network.
Then the team put racing legend and V8 Supercar champion Mark Skaife behind the steering wheel, stuck Vodafone Australia's CEO in the passenger seat, and unleashed the car at full speed around the Calder Park Thunderdome in Victoria.
The BMW M6 -- which Vodafone sponsors, and which has been race-prepped with carbon fibre bodywork and an engine tune in the order of 600 horsepower -- had its windows entirely blacked out, so the video streaming was the only point of input to make steering, throttle and brake adjustments throughout the course.
Using three Galaxy S7 phones streaming video live over Vodafone's 4G network to three Galaxy Tab S2 tablets, the setup seems pretty straightforward. Driving with it as your only source of input, at speeds you'd probably lose your licence over on a public road -- that's probably not so straightforward.
Skaife was pretty impressed, too: "It was like driving in an Xbox game, but without the reset button."
Vodafone's pretty confident about its mobile network, and this test is a demonstration of that. It does double down with that with a reliability promise that lets consumer or business customers cancel their contracts for a full refund within 30 days, no questions asked, if they think the network isn't up to snuff.
This ultimate network test demonstrates the significant investment made in the Vodafone network, and reflects independent network testing by P3 as part of the P3 CommsDay Mobile Benchmark 2016, which found that the Vodafone network achieved success ratios of 99% or over in all metro data testing, with a perfect 100% success rate for small file downloads in metro drive tests. The report also found that Vodafone’s network had the best aggregate voice and data performance this year in cities with a population over 100,000.