Telecom NZ’s 4G network opens for business Tuesday morning with 40,000 sim cards already in circulation. The cards were sent to existing Telecom mobile customers who requested an upgrade ahead of the service launch.
Telecom Retail CEO Chris Quin says while the company has distributed 40,000 4G sim cards, not all those cards have been activated yet.
At first the service will limited with coverage only in parts of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Customers will need a suitably-equipped handset. Quin says Telecom NZ stores will stock 18 suitable 4G devices from Tuesday.
Quin was speaking at an informal function to announce the start of the Telecom NZ 4G service. He told the audience the network is “superior in the real world”. He says that’s because it is backed by Telecom NZ’s own fibre network.
Telecom NZ’s other draw card is a nationwide Wi-Fi hotspot network based on the company’s payphone boxes. The company says there are now 750 sites and the number is continuing to grow.
The carrier’s customers can download up to 1GB of additional data each day from this network. It’s a move that massively extends the scope of the mobile network – most plans only allow two or three GB of downloads each month.
Telecom NZ is on the back foot with 4G. Rival Vodafone established its 4G network more than nine months ago. The service is already reaching into smaller cities and towns.
At the launch function Telecom NZ showed off application it thinks customers will use with the 4G network including mobile video conferencing, streaming English Premier League football and music downloads.