Vodafone (Australia)

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Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Limited
Joint venture
Industry Telecommunications
Founded 2009
Headquarters 177 Pacific Hwy, North Sydney, NSW, 2060
Key people
Iñaki Berroeta (CEO)
Frans de Wolff (CEO) - Vodafone Group plc 1990-1997
Products Prepaid and postpaid mobile phones, wireless broadband
Owner CK Hutchison Holdings (50%)
Vodafone (50%)
Number of employees
4,500 (as of January 2010)[1]
Website www.vodafone.com.au

Vodafone Australia (VHA) is a mobile telecommunications company that operates the Vodafone brand in Australia. The result of a merger between Vodafone Australia and Hutchison 3G Australia, it created a mobile communications entity of nearly 7 million subscribers, A$4 billion in annual revenue and a 27 per cent market share making it Australia's third largest mobile telecommunications provider behind Telstra and Optus.[1]

The joint venture entity is owned by Hutchison Telecommunications Australia (a subsidiary of CK Hutchison Holdings) and by Vodafone Group plc on a 50-50 basis.[2] It was formed on 10 June 2009, after shareholder and ACCC approval. At the time of the merger, Former VHA chief executive Nigel Dews said "the first priority is around people and getting the organisation and the organisational structure sorted out", and that head office functions would see the greatest redundancies.

VHA began phasing out the Three brand in mid-2011.[3] At the time registration of new subscribers to Three ended and would instead become Vodafone customers.[3] The Three network was shut down completely on 30 August 2013.[4]


Vodafone's GSM
Vodafone's 2G GSM service on 900 MHz and 1800 MHz covers 94.52% of the population. Vodafone was the first Telco in Australia to use the Digital Mobile Network. The Network launched its Digital Network in 1994 under the helm of then Australian CEO, Frans de Wolff of Vodafone Group with his company charter of "Vodafone - 'We do things Digitaly'....." In major cities the 2G GSM network offers GPRS data connections, elsewhere the faster EDGE is available. de Wolff played an integral part of bringing the digital revolution to Australia and also implementing faster GSM (TDMA) networks and the phasing out of CDMA networking.
Vodafone's 3G 2100 MHz
Vodafone's UMTS network is available in metro areas of major cities and some larger regional centres covering 80% of the population. In major cities, Optus and Vodafone share towers and a single set of 3G antennas and feeders, as well as equipment shelters for their respective base stations - and for some locations share a 3G base station as well.[5] Outside of major cities, Vodafone and Optus work independently. 3G users outside of major cities use either Vodafone 2100 MHz 3G towers, Vodafones new 3G 900 MHz 3G coverage, or fall back to GSM services.
Vodafone's 3G 900 MHz
Expansion of Vodafone's 3G UMTS network was completed in October 2009, and uses 900 MHz for 3G services outside of capital cities, to equal or surpass their older GSM coverage.[6] Vodafone is also expanding 3G 900 MHz network into capital cities.[7]
Vodafone's 3G 850 MHz
Vodafone are currently rolling out new 850 MHz 3G towers and adding 850 MHz equipment to existing towers, to boost signal in-building, relieve capacity in metropolitan areas and provide a better experience for 850 MHz compatible smartphones. The 850 MHz spectrum belonged to Hutchison prior to the merger and was used by their brand Orange.
Three's 3G 2100 MHz
Three operates a 2100 MHz 3G network in a 50/50 partnership with Telstra[8] (the radio networks are shared, the core networks are separate), covering approximately 56% of Australia's population. The 3G network covers Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, the Gold Coast, Canberra, Geelong, Frankston and Wollongong. In areas not covered by the joint 3G network, customers are able to roam on Telstra's Next G 850 MHz 3G network (if the phone supports it), and Telstra's 900 MHz and 1800 MHz 2G networks. This agreement allows Three to offer coverage to up to 96% of the population. On 31 August 2012, this network was shut down following the termination of the network sharing agreement.[9][10]
Vodafone's 4G 1800 MHz
Vodafone switched on their 4G 1800 MHz service with 20 MHz of bandwidth in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Newcastle and Wollongong on 12 June 2013.,[11] the network has been upgraded and expanded considerably since then.
Vodafone's 4G 850 MHz
Vodafone finished rolling out 4G 850 MHz by refarming 5 MHz of their 3G spectrum in capital cities covering 95% of metro population in 2014, they've also enabled carrier aggregation on both their 4G bands.[12]

The Vodafone 2G and 3G (2100/900 MHz) networks originally operated as a single network, separate to the Three network. During the merger, VHA had made no comment on their intention to combine the 3 and Vodafone networks, or offer roaming between them. However, as of late 2009, roaming onto the Vodafone's 2G network was enabled for Three customers in areas that had limited 3G coverage (e.g. blackspots), handsets now show '3 2G' instead of 'Roaming'. There are no additional charges in '3's 2G zone', although data speeds are limited.

In late 2010 VHA announced plans to consolidate the Three and Vodafone networks, in an attempt to better compete with Telstra's Next G network, which currently holds the most number of subscribers in Australia (9.3 million). The plan includes the expansion of UMTS 900/2100 MHz coverage in 900 metropolitan sites and 500 outer metropolitan sites across Australia, an end to the 3GIS network (3's UMTS 2100 MHz network, which it has a 50% stake with, the other 50% being held by Telstra), as well as the roll out of 1400 UMTS-850 base stations - 850 MHz being the same band in which the Next G network operates. VHA has spent $550 million on the project so far.[13]

Ownership structure[edit]

Before the merger:

  • Vodafone Group plc owned Vodafone Australia Limited (which runs the Vodafone network)
  • Hutchison Whampoa Limited owned 52% of Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Limited ("HTAL"), which owned Hutchison 3G Australia Pty Limited ("H3GA") (which runs the "3" network)

In the merger, Hutchison 3G Australia was renamed Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd, and 50% was sold to Vodafone Group.

The ownership structure of the merged entity became:

  • Vodafone Group owns 50% of Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd
  • Hutchison Telecommunications Australia owns 50% of Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd
  • Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd owns 100% of Vodafone Australia Limited[14]

Retail stores[edit]

During the merger, Vodafone Hutchison Australia announced it would buy out its Vodafone branded stores, previously run by the retail management groups Digicall, First Mobile, Inside Mobile and GSM. The new retail structure will lift VHA's current headcount by 1,400 to 5,100 staff,[1] and add over 170 stores.[15]

"3"-branded stores are already owned by VHA.


Vodafone have been involved in a variety of sports sponsorships in Australia. From 1998 to 2004 Vodafone were the shirt sponsors for the Australian national rugby union team, the Wallabies. In 2010, Vodafone replaced Three as the shirt sponsor of the Australian national cricket team.

Vodafone was the naming rights sponsor of Triple Eight Race Engineering in V8 Supercars from 2007 to 2012.[16] During that period, TeamVodafone won four championships and four Bathurst 1000 races. In 2012, Vodafone terminated their cricket and motorsport sponsorships with money reinvested into improving their mobile network and customer service.[17]

In 2017, Vodafone made a return to sports sponsorships in Australia. In rugby union, Vodafone became the title sponsor of Super Rugby within Australia. In motorsport, Vodafone sponsored a BMW M6 GT3 in the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour, and within Supercars became title sponsor of the safety car and the Gold Coast 600.[18]


  1. ^ a b c VHA spends $80m on retail buyback
  2. ^ Hutchison Telecommunications Australia release to Australian Securities Exchange, 10 June 2009
  3. ^ a b Allen, Danny (2011-08-31). "Vodafone Ends New 3 Mobile Customer Registrations". Gizmodo Australia. Retrieved 2013-08-14. 
  4. ^ "Moving from 3 to Vodafone". Vodafone Australia. Retrieved 2013-08-14. 
  5. ^ "Optus and Vodafone finalise agreement to rollout shared 3G net" (Press release). Optus. 19 November 2004. Retrieved 2011-05-18. 
  6. ^ "Network Coverage". Vodafone Hutchison Australia. 
  7. ^ http://community.vodafone.com.au/t5/Vodafone-Blog/bg-p/Vodafone-Blog/label-name/network
  8. ^ "Telstra, Hutchison share 3G network". ZDNet. 4 August 2004. 
  9. ^ "Telstra - 3G & Next G Information". Telstra. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  10. ^ "Network changes - Three". Vodafone Hutchison Australia. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  11. ^ http://community.vodafone.com.au/t5/Vodafone-Blog/Media-Release-Vodafone-Switches-on-4G/ba-p/280801
  12. ^ http://community.vodafone.com.au/t5/Vodafone-Blog/We-re-boosting-our-4G-network-so-you-can-use-it-in-more-places/ba-p/353447
  13. ^ Colley, Andrew (22 October 2010). "VHA in major 3G upgrade". The Australian. Retrieved 2011-05-18. 
  14. ^ Group Structure
  15. ^ Vodafone Australia: Facts & Figures
  16. ^ Harris, Geoffrey (8 June 2012). "MOTORSPORT: Vodafone hangs up on V8 Supercar sponsorship". Motoring.com.au. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  17. ^ Lee, Julian (7 June 2012). "Vodafone dumps cricket, motorsport sponsorship". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  18. ^ Howard, Tom (18 July 2017). "Gold Coast 600 secures new title sponsor". Speedcafe. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 

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