Vodafone Malta has upped the ante on super-fast mobile broadband internet by becoming the first telecom firm to roll out a 4G network.
It showcased the superior internet speeds possible on 4G by making a live video link with Vodafone headquarters at SkyParks from the Intercontinental Hotel in Paceville, where the unveiling took place.
The seamless video transmission was followed by two remote gamers who raced each other in the graphics-laden Gran Turismo played over 4G.
Outgoing CEO Balesh Sharma said 4G was rolled out in six months and came at an investment of €10 million. “This puts Malta on the technological map,” he added.
This puts Malta on the technological map
Vodafone said coverage would include areas with the highest demand for mobile data at first, including Valletta, Sliema and St Julian’s.
The company will progressively move towards nationwide coverage based on customers’ uptake and demand. The service will launch commercially next month although the company yesterday did not say how much it would cost.
The unveiling was made in the presence of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao.
Dr Muscat said the rollout of this investment showed Vodafone’s trust in the country. He said Malta wanted to be at the cutting edge of innovation.
“We do not want to miss the bus... despite the fact we need to improve our bus service, which we will be doing in the coming months,” Dr Muscat said, a comment that provoked a smile among those present.
In August, the EU identified Malta, Cyprus and Ireland as the only three member states with no 4G coverage. Across the EU, 75 per cent of the population of 500 million had no 4G coverage because, in most countries, it was limited to certain areas. In contrast, in the US more than 90 per cent had access to 4G.
The EU said only Germany, Estonia and Sweden had advanced systems in place.
The 4G network is five times faster than 3G and allows users to download large e-mail attachments quickly, watch live television without buffering, download HD-quality films easily and play live games on the go.