Vodafone is standing by its fast 4G claims. Photo: Michael CaronnaVodafone is standing by its ”superfast 4G network” claims, despite Telstra’s threats to challenge it in court.
It is understood Vodafone received legal correspondence from Telstra challenging the junior telco’s claims in advertising that it had the “fastest 4G network in Australia”, since it launched the service on June 12.
Nevertheless, on July 10 Vodafone announced it had begun accepting non-Vodafone customers onto the new 4G network, which it describes as ”superfast” and offering ”some of the fastest data speeds seen in Australia”.
In a carefully worded statement then, Vodafone chief network officer Benoit Hanssen said the network’s “20MHz wide-band spectrum holdings meant Vodafone was able to offer its customers some of the fastest speeds available across mainland Australia”. He said it offered “average speeds 15 times faster than 3G speeds”.
The Australian reported on Thursday that Telstra had told Vodafone to drop the speed claims or face a lawsuit.
A Vodafone spokeswoman told Fairfax Media the company stood by its claims.
”We are very comfortable with the claims and very excited to be offering these 4G speeds in the market for the first time,” she said on Thursday.
Vodafone has said the 4G service is now available in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Wollongong, Gold Coast and Newcastle to customers of other telcos – a strategy designed to claw back market share from Telstra, which acquired the bulk of disgruntled Vodafone customers after Vodafone experienced an exodus in 2011.
Vodafone started paid advertising of the network only on Wednesday. A full page ad appearing in commuter newspapers made the speed claim by using an authorised quote from technology blogger Trevor Long, first published on his blog.
”If you’re in the right spot, this network is blistering fast. Easily the fastest 4G network in Australia – if not the world,” the ad says with the second sentence in bold writing.
Mr Long told Fairfax Media he agreed to his opinion being featured in the ad because Vodafone used the qualifying statement.
“It’s very well in context: ‘if you are in the right spot’. It’s up to consumers to decide where they are,” Mr Long said.
He said he’d been using the Vodafone 4G network for two months and had seen data speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps), although speeds varied with location.
“100 [Mbps] is what I’ve seen on Vodafone, I don’t get it every day, I get 50, 60, 30, it depends. Put it this way, I’d be disappointed if I got less than 30 [Mbps].”
Mr Long said he did not do side-by-side or laboratory testing, but in his Sydney commute he also achieved 40 and 50 Mbps data speeds on Telstra on his smartphone, and 60 Mbps on a Telstra 4G USB dongle on his laptop.
A Vodafone spokeswoman indicated the company was prepared to defend its claims should Telstra proceed to court.
”That’s a decision for Telstra,” she said.
According to Telstra spokesman Scott Whiffin “this type of exchange is something that has been happening for sometime across what is a very competitive industry”.
“We stand behind our years of extensive investment and innovation in the mobile network and we have a vested interest in protecting that investment,” Mr Whiffin said.
Australian Communications Consumer Action Network spokesman Asher Moses said consumers ”would be better served if telcos invested money in improving network performance instead of court battles”.
”Carriers have an obligation to represent their products accurately,” Mr Moses said. ”Providers generally use the theoretical maximum speed when talking about the capabilities of new technology, but these speeds are rarely achieved in the real world due to factors such as network coverage and congestion issues.
”When telcos make these claims they should show some real-world independent data to back them up. Talking about spectrum holdings and properties goes over the heads of most consumers and is poor information on which to make purchasing decisions,” Mr Moses said.
UPDATE: On Friday, Vodafone issued a statement claiming it offered “the fastest 4G data speeds in Sydney and Melbourne.”
It quoted Ookla speedtests “done by thousands of Samsung and HTC smartphone users” in the first week of July, saying Vodafone customers averaged a download speed of 48 Mbps across parts of Sydney, ahead of Telstra and Optus, both of which had an average download speed of 26 Mbps, it said.
An average data speed of 41 Mbps was clocked in Melbourne, compared to Telstra’s 30 Mbps average and Optus’ 23 Mbps, the statement said.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.