The steady march of 4G progress is continuing across Australia with news that Vodafone has switched on its low-band spectrum, known as 4G+, in parts of New South Wales and Queensland.
The major telcos have been transitioning into low-frequency spectrum in a bid to offer customers greater coverage indoors, thanks to its ability to penetrate buildings better than high-frequency spectrum signals.
Vodafone's 850MHz 4G+ spectrum will complement coverage that is already provided through the telco's existing 4G network (which utilises the high-frequency 1,800MHz spectrum). It also joins a new '4GX' network launched by Telstra, which uses the 700MHz spectrum.
As part of the low-band expansion, Vodafone has now switched on 396 new 4G+ sites in Queensland and 704 in New South Wales, with more sites to go live before Christmas. This follows rollouts in Victoria and South Australia, with Western Australia due to switch on in the coming weeks.
As with Telstra's 4GX, Vodafone 4G+ requires a compatible device in order to be able to take advantage of the network. However, Vodafone's Chief Technical Officer Benoit Hanssen said most customers with 4G smartphones and tablets would be able to take advantage of the better data coverage, without having to upgrade.
"Customers will immediately notice the difference following the mass switch on of new 4G+ coverage," Hanssen said. "The type of spectrum we've used for our new network means customers' devices will work better indoors, including homes, businesses, shopping malls and car parks.
"We've tested all the major smartphones to see how they perform on our new 4G network, including the popular iPhone 5 and 6 models and Samsung GALAXY. What it means for customers is that they'll notice the 4G or LTE symbol on their phone more often, meaning they have more reliable download speeds."
Areas covered by the 4G+ rollout include Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. A guide on compatible devices can also be found on Vodafone's website.
Update, December 9 at 4:45 p.m. AEDT: Vodafone has announced further coverage for WA with 236 new 4G+ sites switched on across Perth with a further 40 going live before Christmas.