Vodafone following the pack with 4G LTE for iPhone 5

One of the key features of the new iPhone 5 launched in San Francisco today is support for ultra-fast LTE, or ‘4G’ networks.The good news is that Apple has addressed the incompatibilities between LTE networks running in different countries, which plagued the launch of the New iPad (iPad 3) in Australia.

In the New iPad’s case, while it did support LTE, it was not compatible with the frequencies LTE networks were running on in Australia. This also led to the ACCC forcing Apple to remove the ‘4G’ support description on the New iPads sold here.

At the iPhone 5 launch, Tim Cook specifically named Telstra, Optus and Virgin Mobile Australia – the latter of which uses the Optus LTE network – as compatible with the antennas on the iPhone 5. Vodafone, on the other hand, was not mentioned.

From left to right: iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and Samsung's Galaxy S3

In response to the launch, Vodafone Australia issued a statement saying that it will offer the iPhone 5 to customers beginning on Friday September 21st.

It also took the opportunity to address its lack of an LTE network by announcing that “…today the launch of the most critical phase of our $1.7 billion network upgrade, with all base station sites now equipped with the latest Vodafone 3G+ and 4G-ready network technology.”

Some customers who purchase the iPhone 5 from September 21st will still get faster speeds than standard 3G by accessing Vodafone’s Dual Carrier HSPA+ network, which is now available in key parts of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, Adelaide and Newcastle.

Vodafone customers with devices like the iPhone 5 who are in these coverage areas “…can expect to receive data speeds from 2 – 16Mbps, which is around eight times faster than the average previously available on the Vodafone 3G network within selected metropolitan areas.”

Vodafone confirms the new iPhone 5 will be compatible with its 4G (LTE) network launching next year.