Vodafone AU launches their 4G Network, we take a look

Vodafone AU launches their 4G Network, we take a look

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Techin5 recently had the opportunity to test out Vodafone’s newly activated out 4G network, and we have to say we came away fairly impressed with what Vodafone has achieved.

4G is the label given to 4th Generation telecommunications technology. This technology has been developed with the goal of providing faster network speeds and an improved mobile internet experience. 3G provided in the past by a range of major providers has been reasonable, with some major providers having regular complaints about the service. Generally speaking the 3G rollouts were a reasonable success, and as with all networks/services there have previously been some issues  that had arisen. We hope that this article serves as a overview/reflection of our experience with the new Vodafone 4G Network, but we acknowledge that every individual experience in using the Network will be unique to the individual/user.

Thanks to Vodafone Australia, we were able to test the Vodafone 4G Network using a HTC One phone.

We were able to test the network coverage in the Melbourne CBD, Southbank, Geelong, the South Western/Western Suburbs, and the upper east of Victoria, so you could say we managed to try out Vodafone’s network in various locations. It’s worth noting that 4G is currently confined to the CBD’s only, we also wanted to see how Vodafone faired outside of the CBD.

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Vodafone speeds outside of the CBD fluctuated wildly, from as low as 3.56 Mbps to about 12 Mbps. 4G is still confined to the CBD, though this speedtest was taken indoors.

Overall, the performance was very good and there was a noticeable improvement in the speed and clarity of streaming compared to using the Optus 3G network (which was expected). We were able to stream online radio stations when travelling over Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge, and travelling to the inner eastern suburbs, with no significant  (if any) interruptions. This consistent performance was also apparent in the inner Eastern suburbs as well as the Southbank/CBD area for a range of functions including; downloading apps, using map functions, and making phone calls.

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Indoor Speeds differ to Outdoor Non-CBD speeds. We pulled some great speeds on 3G+ (what we feel is the medium between 3G and 4G)

In or around the Bellarine Peninsula (and Geelong) the improvement from 3G to 4G was not as significant as in the immediate Melbourne area. There was rare connectivity available for the 4G Network. –However, we were able to stream YouTube videos, run Google searches, and check social networking sites without any major issues, but it did take a few seconds to load some more visually complex/intensive websites.

The general performance inside high-rise buildings in the city was better than expected, considering the likely interference from walls and other structures. It was a pleasant surprise to be able to check emails and monitor social networks quickly from inside these buildings. However, the performance was not as fast as that which was shown outside the building (and this was consistent with our expectations).

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As you can see, we topped out at 54.02 Mbps, a respectable speed test, with an average of 45 Mbps in the Melbourne CBD area. Sydney speeds show a closer to a top of 70 Mbps, so we’re not sure what the Melbourne – Sydney difference would be, though we’ll keep using this device to see what speeds we can get. For now, 54 Mbps is quite some speed, though don’t expect it to be quite as high once people start moving over to 4G speeds en-mass.

The Vodafone 4G network appears to provide a decent range of coverage in the aforementioned areas of Victoria, and has proven to be capable of handling and delivering the basic functionality of the HTC, radio streaming, video streaming, and basic apps. However, to be really successful, they must really start expanding their 4G area’s out of CBD’s and towards the suburbs.

Quick facts about the Vodafone 4G Network are available on their handy FAQ page: http://www.vodafone.com.au/aboutvodafone/network/4g/faq

You can also check out the available coverage for the Vodafone 4G Network at:
http://www.vodafone.com.au/aboutvodafone/network/checker


Jubbin Grewal & Raoul D'Cruz both work at Techin5.