Vodafone and 3 Mobile to create huge 3G mobile wireless network

Vodafone and 3 Mobile, who are both owned by telecommunications giant VHA, have decided to expand their combined 3G mobile wireless network.

The undertaking will involve extensive construction of a brand new 850MHz spectrum network, which is the same type Telstra BigPond has been using to outfox the competition via its superior and faster Next G service.

Money for the new network will come by closing down the current 2100MHz 3GIS network in 2012, which is jointly used by both Telstra and VHA customers.

This expansion has been on the planning board ever since Vodafone and Hutchison merged, having created numerous separate networks owned by the one entity. Now the various networks will be brought together into one massive network, with companies like Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks hired to begin integrating and upgrading mobile towers.

The new 850MHz network will involve the construction of 1,500 mobile towers, with owners of high quality smartphones and mobile broadband USB dongles salivating in readiness for the high quality wireless signal previously only available via Telstra’s elite and expensive Next G service. This spectrum is so powerful it can reach through numerous walls, deep into the recesses of large buildings.

350 850MHz towers have already been built, while another 50 are expected to be active by the end of November this year. Concurrently, 1,400 new 2100Mhz towers are to be added to the current network, 900 of which will be found in capital cities.

Until now, only 3 Mobile has had its own towers in major cities, with Vodafone using Optus towers. However, Vodafone already has its own network in regional areas, and the new venture plans on adding 500 more regional sites.

VHA’s chief executive Nigel Dews said the company had already spent $550 million on the new project, and plans on investing much more.

"We are creating a stronger, better network for our customers, which will deliver a superior customer experience and support ever increasing levels of data usage and expanded areas of coverage," Mr Dews said.

The all important question of internet speed on the network was not addressed by VHA’s press release, so potential customers will be waiting to see if Vodafone and 3 Mobile can offer similar standards to Telstra.

Telstra recently launched its new ‘Ultimate’ USB dongle aimed at business users, which runs up to 20Mbps, but was even recorded at breakneck speeds of 42Mbps in product trials.

Another issue potential customers are unsure about is whether their USB dongles and smartphones will be affected by VHA’s three separate 3G network frequencies, as in some locations overlap could potentially occur.

Vodafone and 3 Mobile have numerous other research and development projects underway. In Newcastle, NSW, LTE (Long term evolution) trials via Chinese multinational company Huawei are being run on an 1800MHz band, and have achieved blazing speeds of up to 73Mbps.

VHA is also launching Femtocells next year, which are small mobile base stations people can put on their own property, be it a small business or residential, which when connected to a DSL connection create an enhanced internal mobile wireless signal. The signal works better further indoors, and handles much more capacity in terms of the number of computer on a network.

Finally, VHA are rolling out fibre optic cabling to its mobile phone towers in order to directly connect with the National Broadband Network, thus ensuring its ability to be a top NBN reseller in the future.