Spark NZ, Huawei signs MOU to expand mobile coverage

Spark New Zealand plans to expand capabilities for its 3G and 4G networks by leveraging its expanded partnership with Huawei.

Spark New Zealand and Huawei have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to expand their existing partnership to boost mobile coverage across 3G and 4G networks.

The two companies first formed their partnership as part of a Joint Innovation Program in 2013, which led to Spark New Zealand, formerly known as Telecom New Zealand, launching the world's first 700MHz trial .

Spark New Zealand chief operating officer David Havercroft said that Spark's relationship with Huawei adds to its material advantage in the 700MHz mobile spectrum and the investments it continues to make in its networks.

"Collaborating with Huawei has already led to a number of new customer products and business solutions for New Zealanders, particularly in the rapidly growing area of mobility," he said.

Spark has already made carrier aggregation technology available on six of its 4G mobile sites. Carrier aggregation allows mobile users to access two mobile spectrum bands simultaneously over their mobile devices, giving them a significant increase in data speeds.

Work has also commenced on using Huawei's technology to upgrade Spark's 3G network nationwide. It will see existing equipment with its single radio access network (SRAN) platform be replaced. SRAN, a product of Huawei, allows operators to support multiple network technologies, including 3G and 4G, over a single "box", removing the need to operate and maintain multiple networks independently.

Spark will also utilise Huawei's 4G long-term evolution (LTE) technology to increase 4G coverage, taking advantage of the recently acquired 700MHz spectrum. In August, Spark commenced its rollout of 4G services to regional New Zealand.

"These sorts of partnerships play a strong role in Huawei's product development. They allow us to meet regularly with customers, discuss how consumers are using their networks and the ways in which we can help to improve their experience," Huawei New Zealand CEO Jason Wu said.

In addition, Huawei has inked an MOU with SingTel to launch the 5G Joint Innovation Program, which will serve as a research hub for 5G mobile broadband technologies, and eventually enable both companies to conduct 5G trials.

According to Ryan Ding, Huawei products and solutions president, the 5G Joint Innovation Program with SingTel marks the company's commitment to developing 5G technology.

"5G is the future of mobile networks. It will be the ultimate platform for a connected world, bringing new innovations as well as creating new collaborations and new opportunities," he said.

"The launch of this 5G Joint Innovation Program with the SingTel Group clearly shows that we are fully committed to its successful development. Both parties are extremely optimistic and excited about the future of 5G technologies and the benefits it will bring to customers."

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