Vodafone Hutchison Australia has outlined plans that will see it expand its network coverage and speed, and merge together its Vodafone network assets with those of 3. That should mean better network performance and fewer confusing plans, but the changes won’t happen for a while.
VHA’s plans include 900 new urban and 500 new regional sites for its existing 3G network, and 1,500 new 850MHz network sites aimed at broadband users. It is also trialling other technologies, including femto cells and LTE, to improve its performance. The network merger has been an expected event ever since Vodafone and 3 merged.
From a customer point of view, most of those changes won’t be seen for quite a while, as the network expansion won’t happen until 2011. Vodafone and 3 have already standardised pricing across a fair number of their products, allowed some free calls between customers on each network and have begun selling jointly through their stores.
The other important date to note is 2012, when 3 and Telstra will stop their joint network sharing agreement. We’ve always recommended against 3’s mobile broadband because of the expensive roaming charges associated with jumping onto the Telstra network, but if you are a customer, now is as good a time as any to start thinking about alternatives.