Feeds

Vodafone announces 4G roll-out for Germany

But US gets first handset

The Power of One Infographic

Vodafone has announced its 4G roll-out for Germany, though it seems it'll be Americans making the first 4G phone call.

Vodafone Germany will have LTE coverage in 1,000 municipalities by Christmas, and Vodafone promises a national network by the end of 2011. That will be a data network using dongles for connecting laptops, in common with other LTE roll-outs, so it seems America's metroPCS will be the first to launch a 4G phone network over which customers will make phone calls.

Long Term Evolution is the 4G standard preferred by the existing network operators and just about everyone else. There aren't any LTE handsets just yet, although the Samsung Craft has passed FCC certification and is expected to be deployed by metroPCS once its LTE network starts operation later this month.

That will give customers in Dallas and Las Vegas the chance to make voice calls over a 4G network, but we can't help wondering whether the Craft (a featurephone rather than a smartphone) is going to be able to take full advantage of the high-speed connections.

LTE is overkill for voice, and to most people 4G is about data supplied to laptops and similar. That's reflected in the tariffs announced by Vodafone Germany, which will be asking €40 a month (around £33) for 7.2Mb/s, with a 10GB cap, rising to €70 (almost £60) for 50Mb/s speed capped at 30GB. Bust the cap and you're reduced to 3G speeds until the end of the month.

That's a high price compared to ADSL, but (coverage allowing) the Vodafone offering makes home broadband redundant, so is better compared to a combination of mobile and fixed broadband.

Vodafone isn't the only network rolling out LTE in Germany, as DailyWireless points out. Telefonica has announced plans to cover Munich and Halli by the end of the year while Deutsche Telekom already has on LTE base station operating in Brandenberg, though one station does not a roll-out make.

All this action follows on from last year's auctions, when the German government sold off a whole bundle of radio spectrum for a combined price of €4.4bn. Not only does that supply operators with frequencies to operate in, but also removes the uncertainty about who will end up owning what.

This is unlike the UK, where decisions about what to do with pre-allocated radio spectrum have yet to be made. This is a prerequisite for a similarly-scaled mega-auction planned for later this year. Vodafone and O2 have the spectrum at the moment, and will be forced to give some up ahead of the auction, but will fight all the way to avoid doing that.

The incumbent operators have nothing to gain from an early auction, allowing them to leave the UK with 3G technology while rolling out the next generation elsewhere. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Orange spent weekend spamming customers with TXTs
Zero, not infinity, is the Magic Number customers want
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
NBN Co execs: No FTTN product until 2015
Faster? Not yet. Cheaper? No data
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.