Spark press release:
Spark announced today that Cambridge and Turangi have become the latest towns capable of getting the fastest mobile data speeds in the country, as 4.5G is switched on in the two Waikato locations.
The launch of 4.5G in Cambridge and Turangi follows other single-tower deployments covering limited areas in the Christchurch CBD, along with the activation of a cluster of five towers in Queenstown, making a total of 10 sites, with more on the horizon.
The most remarkable aspect of this story is how quickly Spark is moving to 4.5G.
New Zealand is already up to ten towers. The press release says another ten will be active over the next year.
It’s noticeable that, to data, neither Vodafone or 2degrees have made any public moves or announcements in this direction.
4.5G is preparing for 5G
Of course, the real story here is that Spark is paving the way for a transition to 5G. Industry insiders expect the new standard to appear in its finished form some time early next decade. Spark marked out its turf. It wants to lead on 5G.
One aspect not widely discussed is that many telcos, presumably Spark is one, will make adjustments and upgrades to 4G before moving to 5G. Industry insiders talk of 4.9G.
Further down the press release Spark mentions the new towers will also be used for fixed wireless broadband. It will be interesting to see how it performs in these places given the reports of problems in some other spots.
Spark admits today’s handsets and wireless modems don’t allow users to get all the benefits of 4.5G. Yet, owners of modern phones will get most of the performance boost. You can expect to download data three to five times faster than on today’s cellular networks.