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Vodafone refarms 3G spectrum in Australia and staff in New Zealand


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(Image: Asha McLean/ZDNet)

Vodafone is shifting around spectrum and jobs in its Australasian operations.

Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (VHA) will be refarming its 2100Mhz spectrum from 3G operations to 4G in certain areas of New South Wales, with work due to commence on March 18.

The telco said the other mainland states will follow throughout the year, with the NSW-enclaved Australian Capital Territory already shifted across.

Vodafone customers that have devices relying solely on a 2100Mhz 3G connection will need to use another handset.

“This upgrade work will ensure the 4G network gets a capacity boost, so more of our customers can use their data to stream their favourite content or use social media, while still keeping our 3G network strong,” Vodafone general manager of Access Delivery Networks Tom Joynson said.

“Once the work is complete in each state, we will be delivering even better service to more than 90 percent of Vodafone’s mobile subscribers across Australian metro areas.”

Telstra completed a similar switch in September last year, and provided a list of its handsets [PDF] impacted — including such classics as Blackberry Curve 9320, HTC Windows Phone 8S, phones by the Sony Ericsson brand, and a number of Microsoft Lumias.

Meanwhile, across the Tasman, the NZ Herald is reporting that Vodafone New Zealand has offered all of its staff, other than call centre and retail staff, voluntary redundancy.

AAP reports that the telco is creating a new operating model that it has yet to finalise, so the number and types of jobs to go are still up in the air.

In September, Vodafone NZ reported a NZ$7.7 million drop in profit to NZ$39 million, which the telco said was due to one-off advisor costs for a potential IPO, as well as foreign exchange losses.

Revenue was up by NZ$5.1 million to NZ$2 billion off the back of increasing mobile customer numbers. Vodafone NZ said it added 92,000 customers over the last 12 months while rivals Spark gained 58,000 and 2degrees lost 27,000 customers.

As for the Vodafone joint venture in Australia, VHA last month reported its revenue had increased 5.5 percent year on year to AU$3.65 billion for the year to December 31, and its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped by 13.4 percent to AU$1.1 billion.

The company, however, continued to fail to post a net profit, but it did reduce its net loss by 30 percent to AU$124 million.

CEO Iñaki Berroeta said the company had spent AU$1.3 billion during the year to handle the increases in data being used, and to get its network ready for 5G. The spend included constructing 180 new mobile sites and upgrading 850 existing sites.

Vodafone Australia and TPG are currently waiting to hear back from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on the proposed merger of the two companies.

After delaying its decision previously due to a lack of information, the consumer watchdog has left the date for its decision hanging.

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