Vodafone gets on NBN trial bandwagon

Vodafone’s NBN customers in Armidale, NSW trialling a variety of services, including FetchTV

Telecommunications provider, Vodafone, has connected 12 customers in Armidale, NSW to the National Broadband Network (NBN) as part of the company’s first trial.

The residents have access to 3G mobile, high-speed broadband and IP television services provided by FetchTV, including high-definition movies on demand. In October, FetchTV partnered with Optus to offer its mobile phone and fixed-line customers 'MeTV with fetch' services from $9.95 a month.

According to a Vodafone spokesman, it is the first operator to trial femtocell technology with the Vodafone Expand product through the NBN. The femtocell is designed to provide a short-range 3G mobile reception boost of up to 30 metres for mobiles connected to the network.

“Vodafone Expand boosts indoor signal strength for Vodafone 3G mobile devices, providing better call quality and mobile internet access,” he said in a statement.

A number of telecommunications and internet service providers (ISPs) including Optus have announced NBN mainland pricing for customers.

When asked why it had taken Vodafone until now to get involved with NBN trials, the spokesman said it wanted to make sure the right technology was in place.

“We do things at our own pace, we also needed to get the customers on board,” he said.

The NBN trials follow the launch of Unite this month which gives small business customers the ability to divert calls from fixed-line numbers to a mobile without call forwarding charges.

The telco is planning to undertake similar trials in Kiama, NSW and Brunswick, Victoria in 2012.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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