Vodafone Germany launches 3CA to enable 375-Mbps speeds

Vodafone Germany started the rollout of three-carrier aggregation (3CA) technology on its LTE Advanced (LTE-A) network that will enable the mobile network operator (MNO) to increase LTE speeds to up to 375 Mbps.

The German MNO flagged the launch in May, when it said it planned to offer download speeds of up to 375 Mbps in 50 cities this year, as part of a broader plan to increase cable and mobile broadband speeds across the country. It has now slightly downgraded this target, saying it would provide the higher speeds in 30 cities by the end of the year. The service has so far been switched on in 22 cities.

The operator noted that the 375 Mbps speeds would be achieved through the combination of three frequency channels in the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands. It also claims to be the first network operator in Germany to provide such fast network speeds to its customers.

Compatible smartphones include Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge and the new Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. These devices support Category 9 (Cat 9) capabilities, which support theoretical data download speeds of up to 450 Mbps. Essentially, Cat 9 speeds are enabled on 4G networks by 3CA, where operators use three blocks of spectrum in order to boost data download and upload speeds.

Vodafone Germany, which also said it invested about €5 billion ($5.6 billion) in its network within two years, noted in May that its LTE network covered 87 per cent of Germany's landmass with speeds up of to 225 Mbps. The number of LTE customers amounted to 7.7 million.

The company has previously said that speeds of up to 525 Mbps would be available "soon", and also said it would offer speeds of "more than 1 Gbps" in selected locations at the end of 2016.

In connection with this target, Vodafone Germany launched the Gigabit campaign in the second quarter of this year with a focus on very high-speed LTE services, larger inclusive data allowances and the abolition of EU roaming fees. As part of this strategy it launched a multi-service offering called GigaKombi in August.

Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO of Vodafone Germany, said at the time that the GigaKombi plan is the next “offensive” in the operator’s Gigabit strategy. The first elements included Giga-Speed, Giga-Daten and Giga-Travel.

The Gigabit campaign also forms a core element of Vodafone Germany’s onslaught on rival Telekom Deutschland, which it has criticised for focusing on “vectoring” services that merely upgrade existing copper networks rather than deploying a fibre-to-the-premises network.

For more:
- see this Vodafone Germany release (in German)

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