Vodafone 4G now live in Auckland

Vodafone NZ has announced that 4G is now available in parts of Auckland, with Christchurch and Wellington to follow.
Written by Darren Greenwood, Contributor

Vodafone New Zealand today announced that its 4G network is now live in parts of Auckland.

The new network will be rolled out in more suburbs in coming weeks, before arriving in Christchurch in May and Wellington in May/September.

Vodafone's 4G network build is being carried out in partnership with its long-standing partner Nokia Siemens Networks.

The company's 4G capable devices, including the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3, start from $199.

Vodafone says New Zealand already has 65,000 such devices in the country, but they will need to be upgraded and put onto a qualifying payment plan.

At the entry level, customers can get onto 4G with a SIM plan for $40 a month, which includes 500MB of data and a 4G upgrade. Smart Data $120 plans and above, with 2GB of data, have 4G included at no extra cost, Vodafone said.

By mid-year, Vodafone said that it will offer more than 12 4G-capable devices.

Outside the 4G coverage area, Vodafone said such devices will seamlessly switch to Vodafone's 3G network. To control their data use, Vodafone's Data Angel service can alert customers when they approach their data limits.

The launch follows Telecom New Zealand announcing extensive trials of its own 4G network earlier this month involving 100 business customers.

Telecom is planning a commercial launch later this year. The third mobile network 2 Degrees, which uses the Vodafone network outside its own network, is also planning its own 4G offering.

Last week, the New Zealand government announced an auction of 4G spectrum for later this year.

Earlier this month, Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Collao dismissed 4G as being for "techno freaks" and "very early adopters", adding that most people won't notice the difference between LTE and fast 3G speeds using HPSA+.

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