Vodafone has announced its first rural trial of 4G technology in the Lake Brunner area of the South Island's West Coast. The trial will run until the end of July using 700 MHz technology.
On the same cell site, Vodafone has enabled 4G using 1800 MHz spectrum. Vodafone says this means customers in the coverage area with a 4G-capable device and qualifying plan will also be able to use the service.
Vodafone head of networks Tony Baird says in a statement that the Lake Brunner dual frequency trial will be run over several months allowing the company to demonstrate and test the benefits of 4G in a rural environment.
“4G technology has huge potential for rural New Zealand as it will drive productivity gains for this essential part of our economy," he says. "We are working in partnership with the government to bring broadband to rural communities through the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), and we have committed to making all the RBI sites upgradeable to LTE.
“Lake Brunner is an ideal test location as it has a number of different characteristics which mean we can test a number of things at the same time, including topography (meaning we can test the technology over land and water), geography (being surrounded by mountains means the radio frequency is relatively isolated) and cell tower type.
“The trial will provide valuable data to support the eventual rollout of 4G to rural New Zealand and we are looking forward to working with the Lake Brunner community as we test this exciting new technology,” Baird says.
The 700MHz spectrum is being freed up for telecommunications services as the country switches over from analogue to digital television transmission.
Vodafone says Lake Brunner was selected as the trial site in part because analogue TV has already been turned off in the area.