Telecom New Zealand (TNZ) has said it will launch 4G services in October in the city of Auckland and extend the technology to Wellington and Christchurch by Christmas.
Next year, the incumbent operator plans to have the service up and running across about half of its smartphone network.
The access infrastructure is to be rolled out by Chinese equipment maker Huawei, while Cisco will build the core network.
“Huawei’s selection was based on two main factors,” said David Havercroft, TNZ’s chief technology officer. “The first is that they have extensive experience, having built 73 LTE networks in 42 countries. The second is that they are truly pushing the boundaries of LTE technology.”
TNZ (Wellington, New Zealand) has already begun testing Huawei solutions in Auckland and Rotorua and says the use of carrier-aggregation technology has allowed to produce peak download speeds of about 250Mbps.
“While such technology is some way from launching commercially, it is very exciting to be working with a technology partner who has this level of capability, and a massive commitment to research and development that we can bring to New Zealand,” said Havercroft.
But the extension of the LTE network to less densely populated parts of the country appears to depend on whether TNZ secures 700MHz spectrum in a forthcoming government auction.
“If we are successful in the 700MHz spectrum auction, 4G LTE will also allow us to significantly improve coverage in rural areas,” said Chris Quin, TNZ’s chief executive. “We intend to install 4G LTE on RBI [rural broadband initiative] sites that we build from early 2014.”
The RBI is a government scheme to bring broadband services to households and business outside New Zealand’s big cities.
TNZ also said that it continues to invest in its extending the coverage of its 3G services, installing dual-carrier HSPA+ at more than half its mobile sites.