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Vodafone preparing for 4G network rollout

2G only voice locations set for 3G boost and the arrival of Vodafone’s 4G network is imminent

In the autumn, mobile phone users in southeast Ireland are set to be the first in the country to benefit from Vodafone’s 4G network.

Vodafone’s next generation of mobile services will first be unveiled in Kilkenny, and then in bigger Irish cities such as Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford.

The 3G coverage in Ireland is already being boosted by Vodafone, with UMTS 900 services now available in parts of the country which had been relying on 2G voice coverage.

Vodafone’s new chief executive Anne O’Leary stated that the company’s strategy was to concentrate on areas that have 2G voice in place, and “roll out 3G” in those areas.

Ms. O’Leary said that, firstly, Vodafone wanted to make sure that all of its customers would be able to use social media, upload, and use email.

May 1st saw three Donegal sites switched on, and later in May, sites in southeast Ireland and Waterford will follow.

Ms. O’Leary added that the majority of handsets used in Ireland are 3G, and that there has been “a huge move towards smartphones” by both individual consumers and business, with regards to prepay and postpay.

It was in November, 2012 that the Communications Regulator approved the next generation services, following the auction of 800MHz, 900MHz, and 1800MHz frequencies.

The multimillion euro investment to bring 4G to Ireland has taken four years to set up, and the investment has also come from other Irish networks as well as Vodafone.

Though the aim is to bring in 4G services in 2013, there are teething problems regarding enough handsets actually being compatible. There is optimism, however, that as the year progresses more 4G handsets will become available in Ireland.

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