Having already expanded its 3G network once this year, Vodafone has completed a second upgrade which it claims makes its data network available to 94% of the Australian population.
That figure still puts Vodafone behind Telstra's Next G for sheer coverage mass, but -- as we've often commented when examining 3G data services -- its pricing is much more reasonable. As part of the upgrade, Vodafone's existing 2G services have largely been upgraded to the EDGE standard, so they should also get a minor performance boost. (In a celebratory deal, Vodafone is also offering free phone access to Facebook for all phone customers until the end of October.)
You can check for coverage in a specific area on the Vodafone coverage map, but we've reproduced the list of main areas from Vodafone's announcement below for quick checking (since it doesn't appear with the map itself).
Areas now with Vodafone 3G network coverage include:
NSW: Sydney and surrounds, North Coast (from Newcastle to Evans Head), the Hunter Valley Region, Byron Bay, Lismore, Ballina, Kiama, Central North (including Tenterfield, Moree), Northern Rivers (including Lismore and Grafton), Northern Tablelands (including Armidale, Glen Innes and Inverell), the Blue Mountains, west to Orange, Bathurst and Parkes, Albury, the South West (around Goulburn and Yass), Snowy Mountains (including Comma and Perisher Valley), Central South (including Wagga Wagga, Yass and Young), Far South Coast (stretching from Sussex Inlet to Eden), Wollongong, Bowral, Nowra and Broken Hill
Victoria: Melbourne and surrounds, Geelong, Phillip Island, Mornington Peninsula, South Coast (around Colac, Lorne and Apollo Bay), Gippsland (around Sale, Traralgon and Stratford), Central West (around the Grampians, Horsham, Stawell and Nhill), West (around Warrnambool and Portland) and Central (around Shepparton, Seymour, Bendigo, Wodonga) and Bendigo
Queensland: Brisbane and surrounds, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, from Noosa to Gladstone, Caboolture, Ipswich, Cairns, Port Douglas, Townsville, Toowoomba, along the coast from Mackay to Cairns (including Rockhampton, Emerald) and Central Queensland (around Roma and Mt Isa)
Western Australia: Perth and surrounds, including Mandurah, south including Bunbury, Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River, Augusta, Albany and Esperance, east including Narrogin, Northam, Merredin and Kalgoorlie, north including Geraldton and West End, Kalbarri, Carnarvon, Karratha, Dampier, Port Hedland, Broome (including Cable Beach) and Kununurra.
South Australia: Adelaide and surrounds, the Barossa Valley, along the coast (from Mt Gambier to Victor Harbor), around the Spencer Gulf (including Whyalla), the Riverland (from Berri to Mildura) and the southern tip of the Eyre Peninsula (including Port Lincoln)
Tasmania: Hobart and surrounds, Launceston, Wynyard, Devonport, Ulverstone, Exeter, Ross, Burnie and Deloraine
Northern Territory: Darwin and surrounds, Alice Springs, Uluru, Katherine and Jabiru
Australian Capital Territory: Canberra and surrounds