Telecom NZ said this morning it will launch its 4G mobile internet services in parts of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch next month. The date is earlier than anticipated.
The company is behind Vodafone which launched its 4G service in February. However, unlike its rival which charges users $10 a month extra to use the fast mobile data network, Telecom NZ customers will get the extra speed at no extra cost.
Telecom NZ 4G will go live on November 12 and will be available to all customers equipped with suitable handsets. The company is selling 4G ready smartphones. Owners of existing 4G capable phones will need to change their Sim cards to use the network.
Telecom NZ 4G built for data, not voice
4G is the name given to a mobile network optimised for data, not voice. The technology offers wireless data speeds which, at times, can outperform copper broadband services. It makes it practical to run applications, such as streaming video, that struggle on 3G mobile networks.
On the downside, the faster data service chews through data more quickly than conventional mobile networks. Telecom NZ expects its Wi-Fi network to take some of the strain.
Like Vodafone, Telecom NZ’s 4G network will be on 1800 MHz frequency band at first, part of the spectrum best suited for urban areas. Both companies aim to offer 700 MHz services next year after the spectrum auction due to take place later this month. 700 MHz will give the network greater reach in less built-up areas.
Last week Telecom NZ reported a huge surge in mobile data traffic – numbers are up 92 percent in a year. In September traffic surged again with thousands watching streaming video coverage of the America’s Cup yacht races on handsets and tablets. Gen-i CEO Tim Miles said that event will prove to be a turning point in widespread acceptance of streaming video over mobile data networks.