Telecom New Zealand today announced it would spend over half a billion NZ dollars on the roll out of its new 3G mobile network to 97 per cent of New Zealanders using the 850MHz spectrum.
The company has committed to the HSPA+ standard, which will see top theoretical downlink speeds of 21Mbps and uplink speeds of 5.7Mbps over the network, at a cost of NZ$574 million over the next two years.
The network will have a phased launch from November with the start of inbound roaming services. The roll out with the full spectrum of services is set to be completed by June 2009.
The decision to roll out using wideband CDMA at 850MHz was a change from original plans which would have seen a blend of WCDMA/HSPA at 2,100MHz for metropolitan areas and GSM/EDGE at 850MHz for rural areas. At the company's annual results in August, CEO Paul Reynold said the company was looking into the possibility of using wideband CDMA at the 850 spectrum.
In the announcement today, Reynolds called WCDMA at 850MHz the "smartest" choice for New Zealand, saying that by rolling out at that frequency, Telecom New Zealand would be in good company, joining a club which had Telstra and AT&T as members.
According to the company, there were hundreds of devices — 44 per cent of all HSPA devices globally — which were capable of delivering 3G service using the wideband CDMA at 850MHz.
"With this technology, Telecom will provide customers with global roaming superior to that of our competitors: our handsets will work on more than 430 networks in over 170 destinations worldwide for voice and texting, and over 110 destinations for internet data," Reynolds said in a statement.