New Zealand operator 2degrees says it has kicked off a three-month trial of 4G technology with plans to introduce commercial services by July.
The operator – the smallest of New Zealand’s three mobile players – is running an LTE trial at ten sites in central Auckland, using 1800MHz spectrum.
The aim is to launch commercial services in central Auckland by July before expanding into the wider Auckland area and the cities of Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch by the end of the year.
In 2015, 2degrees (Auckland, New Zealand) says it will start deploying 4G services in provincial areas of the country.
The operator said trials would allow it to test all aspects of 4G in a controlled manner to ensure everything runs smoothly before it introduces commercial services later in the year.
It also notes that that – while 4G can theoretically support connection speeds that are ten times faster than 3G – actual 4G speeds will vary depending on location, device and network traffic.
2degrees also says it will make 4G services available to both prepaid and contract customers.
“With our customer’s ever-increasing appetite for data coupled with more LTE-capable handsets available, we feel it is now the right time to extend our capabilities to the next generation of mobile,” said the operator in a statement.
2degrees will be a rather late entrant to the 4G market – Vodafone (Auckland, New Zealand) launched services in February 2013, with Telecom New Zealand (Auckland, New Zealand) joining it in November.
Last October, all three players won 700MHz spectrum in a government-run auction that should help them to expand their 4G services in the years ahead.
While Telecom New Zealand and Vodafone each paid NZD66 million ($56 million) for 30MHz of spectrum, 2degrees bought a 20MHz block for NZD44 million.
Earlier this year, Telecom New Zealand secured another 10MHz block that had remained unsold during the original process for a fee of NZD83 million.