Rating: 800 MHz is better for indoor coverage, so there
Just days before EE‘s 4G LTE network is set to go commercial in the UK, Vodafone has responded with a ’4G phone promise’. It has decided to brand its version of LTE as ‘ultra-fast Vodafone 4G’ and is concentrating on ramping up the superior indoor coverage that the 800 MHz spectrum can provide. EE’s 4G network is, of course, based on re-used 1800 MHz spectrum. Currently the 4G phone promise is restricted to just three handsets but considering one is the iPhone 5 and another is the Samsung Galaxy SIII, it has two of the best selling smartphones covered. Probably as a dig at EE, Vodafone is describing its HSPA+ and HSPA-DC based offerings as ‘superfast 3G+’ as opposed to EE’s superfast 4GEE. Vodafone is also ramping up the benefits of its acquisition of Cable & Wireless Worldwide’s UK fibre based backbone network.One of the most interesting stats to come out of this push for customer retention is that it is spending more than £1.8 million every day on its network. Good news for those with 3G handsets, of course.
The company says its plans are underway to hit 98 per cent indoor coverage by 2015. Unlike EE, it can’t currently claim the fastest network roll out to date.
That’s because it doesn’t know how soon it will be able to switch its 800 MHz 4G network on.
Officially, it mentions Spring 2013 as a launch date but there was an accidental mention of April in the Vodafone blurb.
Naturally, it all hinges on how quickly the government manages to go ahead with the auction for 4G spectrum.
GoMobile News is till puzzled as to how much money the UK government expects to extract from the three remaining 4G-less operators – Vodafone, 3UK and O2, when EE hasn’t had to pay anything to re-use 2G spectrum.
As a gesture, the 4G phone promise sounds good on paper with customers getting 70 per cent off their remaining contract charges when they switch from 3G.
However, customers need to pay the remaining 30 per cent contract charges when they take out this offer. That could still work out to be a hefty fee.
Plus the offer only applies to certain handsets: – the two mentioned above plus the Samsung Galaxy Note II.
That’s not an ideal number but as Vodafone gets closer to the actual launch date, the number of 4G compatible devices which it as ranged should have increased considerably.
The underlying message here, however, is that if you get an iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy III on the Vodafone UK network now, you’ll probably only be 4G-less for about six months.