Vodafone expects to deliver its Regional Coverage Hub during the second half of next year.
The six-week trial took place near Ballarat in Victoria using two Hub devices, with the devices delivering 4G coverage across more than eight square kilometres of a potato farm owned by local farmer, Scott Dimond.
Vodafone says plug-and-play device also provides Internet of Things connectivity, “giving farmers the opportunity to evolve and automate their processes via agriculture and farming IoT solutions”.
“Having the option to look at more than one telco is an exciting prospect and the Hub has made it more realistic than it’s ever been before.
“It was really quick and easily to get up and running and I don’t doubt farmers everywhere will be excited to learn that Vodafone’s trial was successful and solutions to problems are on the way.”
Vodafone says the device can be quickly and easily installed on a roof or exterior wall of a property by simply plugging it into a power source and connecting to an existing broadband Internet connection. It is approximately twice the size of a standard modem, measuring 30cm long, 25cm high and 10 cm wide.
Vodafone’s chief technology officer Kevin Millroy said the successful trial is a “demonstration of Vodafone’s commitment to bring choice and competition to regional and rural Australia”.
“Farmers face a particularly big challenge without reliable mobile coverage across their properties. The ability to make a call and access emails while working, let alone the opportunity to adopt new services and applications, just isn’t there without reliable coverage.
“Providing a self-install solution removes the dependency that regional communities and farmers have on mobile operators. It gives them the power to get mobile coverage quickly and easily, without needing to wait for a mobile tower to be built or existing infrastructure to be made available for co-location near their property.”
“We are thrilled to announce the successful trial of our Regional Coverage Hub. Vodafone is committed to delivering more choice for Australians living and working in regional areas, and the positive results of the trial are a huge step forward to continuing our commitment.”
The Regional Coverage Hub has been created by Nokia and operates via a fixed broadband connection.
“This is a great demonstration of how an innovative approach can result in improved coverage and deliver new opportunities for operators and consumers. Quicker and easier deployment is a key factor to reduce network cost and improve services and we’re very proud to be supporting Vodafone with this initiative,” a Nokia spokesperson said.