It’s been a long time coming, but 4G connectivity is now becoming a widespread reality in the Netherlands. Dutch telecoms giant KPN has been rolling out LTE since the first quarter of this year, and now Vodafone has set its network live too.
Vodafone’s 4G switch-on took place on Monday in the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague, using a combination of “refarmed” 1800MHz spectrum (previously used for good old 2G voice and text communications) and newly released 800MHz spectrum (previously used for TV broadcasts). The carrier’s LTE service runs to a theoretical maximum of 50Mbps, which means 10-15Mbps in the real world.
At the same time, the carrier said it was boosting speeds for all its 3G customers to a theoretical maximum of 7.2Mbps.
The introduction of Vodafone 4G should be good news for Dutch iPhone 5 users. KPN’s rollout thus far has used 800MHz spectrum because it operates over long distances and makes for a speedy deployment. But the iPhone 5 doesn’t support that band. Apple’s flagship smartphone does use 1800MHz though (hence the ability of Deutsche Telekom in Germany and EE in the UK to offer it as a 4G device). KPN will only tap into its 1800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum for 4G purposes as it works to boost bandwidth in densely populated areas.
Vodafone’s “Red” 4G contract pricing starts at €44 ($58.50) per month, which comes with an unspectacular 500MB monthly data cap — it’s only an extra €5 to bump that up to 2GB, though. KPN’s 4G is similarly priced, at €45 a month for a 500MB cap and €47.50 for a 2GB cap.
The other major 4G deployment still to come is that of T-Mobile Netherlands, which is currently in the process of revamping its entire network. T-Mobile said back in May that it will launch 4G in the Greater Amsterdam area in the fall, before achieving coverage across most of the country by the end of 2014.