Vodafone 4G Delayed Until September – For New iPhone

Vodafone 4G will not be available to customers until September. The operator has postponed the launch of its LTE service until a compatible iPhone is available.

The iPhone 5, launched last September, is not compatible with the £790 million worth of 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum that Vodafone acquired in the Ofcom 4G auction earlier this year.

The smartphone does support the 1.8GHz bandwidth used by the UK’s only current LTE operator, EE 4G, however.

Vodafone 4G delay

It had been expected that Vodafone  4G would launch before rival services from O2 and Three, which has already confirmed that it will not roll-out LTE until later this year, confident that its DC-HSPA+ will be able to offer speeds similar to those of the early versions of 4G until then.

The delay might be a disappointment to users who have bought the non-Apple phones which Vodafone has already been promoting as  ‘4G-ready’, including the Nokia Lumia 920, Samsung Galaxy S4 and the BlackBerry Z10. Despite selling these smartphones, it seems Vodafone is not  confident of success without Apple’s smartphone on board.

Vodafone has defended its decision, claiming that it was waiting until the autumn to ensure that its network was ready and to give itself the best possible market window

“We are convinced our own 4G will be better performing,” Vodafone’s chief executive, Vittorio Colao told the Guardian. “We want to be able to launch it when it’s really ready. End of the summer means when there is going to be a good commercial window for launching it.”

Investor concerns?

However should Vodafone wait until September, EE 4G will have had a full ten-month head start since it launched its LTE network last October. EE currently has more than 318,000 4G subscribers and is confident of attracting one million by the end of 2013.

Any delay to the Vodafone 4G service could concern investors after the company recorded a 4.2 percent year-on-year fall in revenue earlier this week, blaming tough economic conditions in Southern Europe.

This caused it to keep £4.5 billion in dividends paid by Verizon Wireless, its US joint-venture with Verizon Communications, which wants to buy out Vodafone’s 45 percent stake in the company for a reported £65 billion.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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