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Voda calls on Huawei to replace all base stations

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Vodafone, criticised since last year for poor network performance, is to replace virtually all of its network base stations with Huawei kit, announcing that it will either install new equipment or replace kit at 8,000 base station sites over the next 18 months.

The project will start with the 5,800 sites now in service, with engineers now tasked with identifying those sites experiencing the highest levels of traffic. Another 2,200 new sites are expected to be commissioned in the project.

Vodafone says when this project is complete, its network investment since its merger with Hutchison Australia’s “3” operation will amount to A$1bn.

However, this upgrade only applies to base stations that Vodafone brought to the table. Vodafone’s Greg Spears told The Reg the base stations used by Hutchison are still subject to that company’s 3GIS network sharing arrangement with Telstra. Only as that winds down will the Vodafone Hutchison Australia company be able to assimilate the remaining base stations into its own network.

Telstra, with its network plans, announced in AustralianIT today, seems about to spark a new net neutrality debate. The carrier says it will use QoS technologies to manage traffic on the LTE network now under deployment.

Telstra told The Australian that the QoS technologies are necessary on a radio network, to prevent bandwidth hogs such as IPTV and high-definition streaming from degrading network performance.

In Australia’s politicised National Broadband Network (NBN) debate, wireless technologies – particularly 4G systems such as LTE – are put forward as rendering the government’s fibre rollout obsolete.

It seems 100 Mbps delivered over wireless isn’t quite the same as over fibre. ®

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