Vodafone joins KPN in Netherlands 4G market

UK-headquartered mobile operator Vodafone has become the second company to launch 4G LTE services in the Netherlands using frequencies awarded in December 2012.

The operator this week announced the availability of the high-speed technology in the Randstad region, including the major cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

UK-headquartered mobile operator Vodafone has become the second company to launch 4G LTE services in the Netherlands using frequencies awarded in December 2012.

The operator this week announced the availability of the high-speed technology in the Randstad region, including the major cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

Its launch makes it the country’s second provider of LTE services based on spectrum handed out in an auction late last year, after incumbent operator KPN (The Hague, Netherlands), which has previously announced plans to cover half the Dutch population with its LTE network by mid-2013.

Although operators have been offering some 4G services based on 2.6GHz spectrum awarded in April 2010, those deployments have typically been regarded as soft launches of LTE technology.

Vodafone (Maastricht, Netherlands) has now published a list of the devices that are compatible with the LTE technology, which – it claims – can support download speeds that are ten times faster than available on a 3G network.

In a real-world setting, that means connection speeds of between 10Mbps and 15Mbps, said Vodafone.

The operator is using a mixture of 800MHz and 1800MHz spectrum to support its rollout of LTE technology, having paid a total of €1.38 billion ($1.83 billion) in December 2012 to renew existing concessions and acquire new licenses in a variety of frequency bands.

The 800MHz spectrum is particularly suited to rollouts in rural and remote regions, because signals travel further in lower-frequency bands, while services running over 1800MHz spectrum are accessible on some of the world’s most attractive 4G devices, including Apple’s (Cupertino, CA, USA) iPhone 5.

Vodafone said it had also boosted the speed of its 3G services to 7.2Mbps through the introduction of dual-carrier HSPA technology.

Vodafone’s LTE launch leaves T-Mobile Netherlands as the only one of the country’s main network operators yet to launch 4G services.

The service provider, owned by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (Bonn), has previously announced plans to launch services by the end of the year and cover the entire country by the end of 2014.