Vodafone extends mobile broadband service

Total 3G investment heads up to $500 million

Vodafone is extending its mobile broadband service outside of the main centres to what it claims to be 97% of the population.

The project will take Vodafone New Zealand's total investment in 3G services to around $500 million, the company says in a statement.

Vodafone general manager corporate affairs Tom Chignell announced the network build At the TUANZ Rural Broadband Symposium in Rotorua today.

“Many of those in rural New Zealand who are stuck on dial-up internet will have access to world class broadband services and be able to enjoy all the benefits that these services will bring," Chignell says.

Communications and information technology minister David Cunliffe welcomed the announcement.

“This announcement means that more New Zealanders will have access to high-speed internet, via their home computers, laptops and on their mobile phones,” he said.

Cunliffe says total private investment announcements under the current government will top $2.5 billion. He says the government will add a further $1 billion, by providing $500 million of funding from Budget 2008 in the Broadband Investment Fund to be matched with at least $500 million from private investors.

The National Party is promising a direct government investment in broadband of $1.5 billion.

Vodafone’s 3G broadband service is currently available to around 63% of the population. By 2010 it will cover 97% — the same reach as the existing 2G network.

An enhancement of the network downlink speed to 7.2Mbit/s is currently being rolled out. In the future, peak downlink speeds will range up to 28.8Mbit/s and uplink speeds will be up to 11.5Mbit/s, Vodafone says.

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