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Vodafone refarms 3G spectrum in Australia and staff in New Zealand

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(Image: Asha McLean/ZDNet)

Vodafone is shifting around spectrum and jobs in its Australasian operations.

Vodafone Hutchinson Australia (VHA) will be refarming its 2100Mhz spectrum from 3G operations to 4G in certain areas of New South Wales, with work due to commence on March 18.

The telco said the other mainland states will follow throughout the year, with the NSW-enclaved Australian Capital Territory already shifted across.

Vodafone customers that have devices relying solely on a 2100Mhz 3G connection will need to use another handset.

“This upgrade work will ensure the 4G network gets a capacity boost, so more of our customers can use their data to stream their favourite content or use social media, while still keeping our 3G network strong,” Vodafone general manager of Access Delivery Networks Tom Joynson said.

“Once the work is complete in each state, we will be delivering even better service to more than 90 percent of Vodafone’s mobile subscribers across Australian metro areas.”

Telstra completed a similar switch in September last year, and provided a list of its handsets [PDF] impacted — including such classics as Blackberry Curve 9320, HTC Windows Phone 8S, phones by the Sony Ericsson brand, and a number of Microsoft Lumias.

Meanwhile, across the Tasman, the NZ Herald is reporting that Vodafone New Zealand has offered all of its staff, other than call centre and retail staff, voluntary redundancy.

AAP reports that the telco is creating a new operating model that it has yet to finalise, so the number and types of jobs to go are still up in the air.

In September, Vodafone NZ reported a NZ$7.7 million drop in profit to NZ$39 million, which the telco said was due to one-off advisor costs for a potential IPO, as well as foreign exchange losses.

Revenue was up by NZ$5.1 million to NZ$2 billion off the back of increasing mobile customer numbers. Vodafone NZ said it added 92,000 customers over the last 12 months while rivals Spark gained 58,000 and 2degrees lost 27,000 customers.

As for the Vodafone joint venture in Australia, VHA last month reported its revenue had increased 5.5 percent year on year to AU$3.65 billion for the year to December 31, and its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped by 13.4 percent to AU$1.1 billion.

The company, however, continued to fail to post a net profit, but it did reduce its net loss by 30 percent to AU$124 million.

CEO Iñaki Berroeta said the company had spent AU$1.3 billion during the year to handle the increases in data being used, and to get its network ready for 5G. The spend included constructing 180 new mobile sites and upgrading 850 existing sites.

Vodafone Australia and TPG are currently waiting to hear back from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on the proposed merger of the two companies.

After delaying its decision previously due to a lack of information, the consumer watchdog has left the date for its decision hanging.

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Chorus trials 10Gbps broadband

Chorus gigabit broadband customers in Auckland and Wellington can apply to be among the first to trial a new 10Gbps-speed service.

Vodafone trials long distance drone flight tech on 4G networks (TechRepublic)

The network lets users monitor drone flights up to 120 meters above grown and identify nearby drones while managing them separately.

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Cars

Check out the 2+2 Chevrolet Corvette that never was

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The 60s was an iconic era in the automotive realm in the United States, with some incredibly popular cars getting their start then Vehicles like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette, and Dodge Charger, to name a few. Sometimes it takes one vehicle to change the industry and spawn many similar products from the other automakers. Case in point is Ford and its Mustang, which kicked off the pony car era eliciting responses with other iconic vehicles.

Another of the iconic Ford vehicles in the era that sold extremely well was the Thunderbird. The Thunderbird routinely outsold the Chevrolet Corvette. Early in its production, the Thunderbird was a two-seat sports car very similar to the Corvette. It grew in later generations, becoming a 2+2, offering a back seat to carry more passengers. The vehicle in the image above looks like the iconic 60s split-window Corvettes that are so valuable today, but there’s a key difference.

The difference is readily apparent when you look at the side view image in the Instagram post below, where General Motors Design shared photos of a one-off design buck. A design buck is essentially the shell of the vehicle used by automotive designers of the day to get the vehicle’s design just right. This particular example was never powered and never cruised the streets.

The car was a response to the Thunderbird, adding backseats to the Corvette in 1962. Sadly, the 2+2 Corvette was never built, and reports indicate the design buck was later crushed. Another interesting tidbit is that GM reportedly brought in a Ferrari to help with the styling and proportions of the car.

As for what finally became of the project, a GM executive named Bunkie Knudsen, who was part of the styling team but wasn’t a fan of the project, reportedly worked to get the project scrapped. He believed it would taint the Corvette brand and wouldn’t sell in large enough numbers to justify building it. The only Corvettes ever sold by GM have all been two-seat sports cars.

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Alpha Motors Superwolf is a completely decked out electric pickup

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Alpha Motors unveiled a new version of its all-electric pickup called the Superwolf. The difference between this particular version of the truck and the ones that have been shown before is that the Superwolf is completely decked out with all sorts of accessories you might expect to find only on the aftermarket. One of the more interesting accessories seen on the truck is tube doors similar to what you commonly see on Jeeps.

Superwolf also has custom KMC wheels with large off-road tires, a custom front bumper with tow rings and skid plates, as well as a complete roof rack featuring an LED light bar and large locking case. In the bed of the truck is a rack that adds more style to the truck and supports the roof basket.

Under the doors are also compact step rails that look like they are intended to protect the vehicle’s body while off-roading. The truck also features wide fender flares and looks fantastic in general. Other interesting features of the truck include a bed cover that appears to be made out of aluminum and a rack that spans the bed allowing for items to be attached on top of the bed itself.

Several other accessories are available for the truck, including a bed extension and more. Other than the accessories, Superwolf features a driving range of up to 300 miles per charge. It has two motors for four-wheel drive and can reach 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. The truck has a tow rating of 6724 pounds and features a rapid charger with battery cooling and heating.

The truck’s interior can hold four passengers and has a digital display for the driver along with the wide-format center display. Bluetooth connectivity and premium sound are also featured. Superwolf can be reserved now with a starting MSRP listed at between $48,000 and $56,000.

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Classic 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Trans Am racer heads to auction

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When it comes to muscle cars of the 60s, one of the most iconic is the Chevrolet Camaro. The value of a normal Chevrolet Camaro from the era is often very high. The value of this 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Trans Am is even higher as it’s an actual successful racing car from the era. This vehicle is the first of six Sunoco Trans Am Camaros that Penske Racing built.

This particular car has an extensive racing history with drivers Mark Donohue and George Follmer behind the wheel. The car has been completely restored by Kevin McKay in its iconic Sunoco racing livery. The car is said to be one of the most significant Chevrolet-powered racing cars ever built. Because of its rarity and racing pedigree, the car is expected to bring as much as $2 million at auction in Pebble Beach.

The car features a 302 cubic inch overhead valve V-8 engine and a single four-barrel carburetor. It’s estimated to produce 450 horsepower and has a four-speed manual gearbox along with four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. The front suspension is independent wishbone with coil springs, while the rear has a live axle with leaf springs, a setup common in the era.

The racing series the car was built for required a 302 cubic-inch engine. The Z/28 was born due to the need to produce examples for homologation. The Z/28 became the Camaro performance production model, with 602 examples being built in 1967. The first 25 of those cars off the assembly line were sent to racers. This particular car was the 14th produced and was sent to Roger Penske.

This car is the first of only six Penske Camaros built between 1967 and 1969. The auction house says that over $330,000 was spent to restore the iconic car completely. The car comes with a file documenting its extensive racing history and photos of the car as it was discovered and during its restoration.

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