Competition sees Vodafone bump 4G speeds

Vodafone has increased speeds on its next generation 4G network just weeks ahead of Telecom NZ launching its service.

The company says parts of its network can now handle 4G Category 4 (Cat 4) devices. These have a theoretical maximum speed of 150 Mbps.

Telecom NZ’s 4G network will have Cat 4 baked in when it launches on November 12.

Cat 4 is fast. It is 50 percent faster than standard 4G and considerably faster than most fixed line home broadband speeds. However, because phones share mobile bandwidth users will often see slower speeds in practice.

Until now there have been few devices capable of using Cat 4’s extra speed. In recent weeks the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Sony Xperia Z1 have landed in New Zealand. Both Vodafone and Telecom NZ offer these phones. Vodafone says later this month the two devices will be joined by the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Vodafone’s own R215 Pocket WiFi and Mobile Broadband Vodem K5150.

When it comes to the network roll-out, Vodafone has an eight month lead on Telecom NZ in 4G. The company already offers services in nine centres and says it will add another 20 before the end of the year.

Telecom NZ’s 4G network will be an Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch affair at first. Unlike Vodafone, Telecom NZ says it won’t charge users extra for the faster service, but they will need new Sim cards.

Vodafone, Telecom NZ and 2degrees have confirmed they will take part in the 700 MHz auction that will allow them to buy more 4G spectrum.