Struggling operator Vodafone Hutchison Australia has announced it will start to offer customers access to its LTE network in selected markets from June.
Coverage will initially be available in Sydney and Perth, with partial coverage in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle and Wollongong. Coverage will be increased with the addition of 2,000 LTE sites during the course of the year.
The company touted “what will potentially be Australia’s fastest 4G network” by saying tests have shown speeds of up to 15 Mb/s. “We’ve picked up the pace and are sprinting to meet the current and future needs of our customers,” said CEO Bill Morrow.
Ahead of the launch Vodafone has added two LTE-capable devices to its line-up in the shape of the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4.
Australian market leader Telstra has been offering LTE since September 2011 and has sold around 1.5 million 4G devices. The company is on track to have 66 per cent coverage of Australia by June.
Number two operator Optus started its nationwide LTE rollout in September 2012 with coverage in Sydney, Perth and Newcastle, with Melbourne. According to Wireless Intelligence, Optus now has more than 52,000 LTE subscribers.
Telstra is also set to launch LTE-Advanced this year, a move that could make it the first operator in the world to offer the next generation 4G technology.
Vodafone Hutchison Australia has been struggling in recent years with a loss of more than 700,000 subscribers since the beginning of 2011 as its brand has been damaged by ongoing network problems. Morrow said the launch of LTE was the “latest move toward earning back customers’ trust.”
Parent companies Vodafone and Hutchison Whampoa reportedly injected more than $2 billion into the operation to repay AUD1.3 billion in external bank debt and to complete network upgrades, including the addition of LTE.