Telecom NZ mulls 850MHz network

Telecom New Zealand today said it was considering integrating wideband 850MHz technology into its mobile network.
Written by Suzanne Tindal, Contributor

Telecom New Zealand today said it was considering integrating wideband 850MHz technology into its mobile network.

In June last year, Telecom NZ announced an NZ$300 investment plan for a wideband CDMA network build.

If the telco does use the 850MHz spectrum for the roll-out, Telecom New Zealand would follow in the footsteps of its fellow incumbent across the Tasman. Telstra decided to use the 850MHz spectrum for its Next G network in 2006, a move that was initially met with scepticism, because the majority of carriers across the world utilised the 2,100MHz spectrum.

However, Telstra defended its decision at the time, saying that the higher the frequency, the smaller the area which could be covered by the mobile transmission, an important consideration for rural Australia.

Coverage in Telecom NZ's new network was expected to be provided using a blend of WCDMA/HSPA at 2,100MHz for cities and large metropolitan areas and GSM/EDGE at 850MHz for rural areas.

Although, the company has been thinking about widening its frequency horizons. "We are evaluating the further potential of WCDMA at 850MHz," chief executive Paul Reynolds said.

The previous dearth of 850MHz devices has been gradually addressed, according to Reynolds, changing the nature of the game. The company would consider how many customers would make use of it and how it would be done over the next month.

Deployment of the 850MHz would ideally come before rival Vodafone's planned April 2010 3G roll-out completion, according to Reynolds.

In general the WCDMA build was well on its way, Reynolds said, with November likely to see inbound live traffic come onto the network.

Meanwhile, the company has seen some effects from government-mandated operational separation, but Reynolds said the company was "really pleased" to come in within its earnings guidance.

Revenues were up 2 per cent on the previous year to NZ$5.67 billion. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were down 4 per cent to NZ$1.89 billion. Expenses for the latest year rose 5 per cent to NZ$3.78 billion, in part reflecting the costs of transformation and operational separation.

AAP contributed to this article

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