Telecom NZ 4G network targets October launch, chooses Huawei build

Telecom New Zealand will go live for Auckland in October this year before hitting Wellington and Christchurch by year's end.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

New Zealand's second operating 4G network will be built on Huawei hardware after Telecom NZ today announced that it has selected the networking vendor to build its network of 4G-capable mobile sites.

Telecom New Zealand's 4G LTE network will launch in Auckland by October, with extensions to Wellington and Christchurch due by Christmas. The telco says that it will have LTE coverage across half its network during 2014.

The company has been trailing its 4G services since December in parts of Wellington and Auckland.

Telecom Retail CEO Chris Quin said in a statement that LTE will allow for better rural coverage, and the company would be co-locating on towers covered by the New Zealand goverment's Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI).

"If we are successful in the 700MHz spectrum auction, 4G LTE will also allow us to significantly improve coverage in rural areas," Quin said. "We intend to install 4G LTE on RBI sites that we build from early 2014."

Huawei has been selected to build the network, with Telecom NZ chief technology officer David Havercroft citing the company's experience in having built LTE networks in 42 countries, and having successfully pushed network speeds up to 250Mbps in trials.

"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," he said.

Telecom's 4G network is not the first 4G network to go live in New Zealand, with Vodafone New Zealand launching its network in Auckland last month.

Cisco and Ericsson picked up core data transport and customer profile contracts, respectively.

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