Vodafone to offer 900MHz service next year

HSPA at 900MHz coming up

Vodafone intends to use its 900MHz spectrum to provide a cellular broadband service with longer reach and better building penetration than its current UMTS HSDPA offering.

Caroline Jessop, acting external communications manager for Vodafone, says the telco has the 900MHz spectrum and intends to use it. She says that dates and coverage are still confidential but Vodafone will start up the service next year.

The mobile operator’s network equipment partner, Nokia, says that it has carried out data calls in the 900MHz band already. Nokia conducted the data call in Finland, on the live network of telco Elisa, and says it’s the world’s first WCDMA/HSDPA call in that frequency range — after Finland permitted such usage in the lower spectrum.

Presently, Vodafone’s 3G UMTS service with HSDPA runs in the 2.1GHz spectrum. Using 900MHz spectrum provides between two to four times larger coverage area, according to Nokia, which also says that the lower frequency improves building penetration.

Elisa uses existing Nokia 900MHz GSM base-station equipment such as aerials and cabinets, making the cellular broadband upgrade cost-effective compared with having to install new gear.

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