Telecom NZ's 4G network will go live overnight tonight in parts of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
4G will be available at no additional monthly cost to Telecom's prepay and on-account customers. Vodafone NZ's 4G service was only available to its on-account customers, but the company opened the service up to its prepay customers on the afternoon of Telecom's 4G launch.
To use 4G, customers must have a 4G capable smartphone or other device, and a 4G SIM card. Telecom's 4G network is entirely LTE Category 4, which offers theoretical speeds of up to 150Mbit/s download and 51MBit/s upload with Category 4 devices. Most 4G/LTE smartphones currently on sale in New Zealand are Category 3, which offers theoretical speeds of up to 102Mbit/s down, 51MBit/s up.
Telecom coupled its 4G announcement with promotion of it existing Wi-Fi network that currently includes 750 hotspots. On-account Telecom mobile customers, and Telecom prepay customers on $19/$29 prepay packs, will have access to 1GB per day of free traffic on that network.
Phones configured to use the Wi-Fi network will do so instead of 4G when Wi-Fi is available, potentially lowering the paid-for data usage of 4G customers.
Gen-i CEO Tim Miles says that while 4G will help feed growing demand for new applications that leverage 4G speeds, it’s the integration of 3G, 4G, fibre and WiFi into a single platform for mobility, backed by Telecom’s high speed core fibre network, that will deliver a superior overall experience for Gen-i clients and their customers.
“Gen-i’s cloud and mobility services directly connected to our communications networks and data centres will really bring the benefits of 4G to life for our clients, and it’s our ability to deliver these services over a single platform for mobility that will make them quick, easy and cost effective for our clients to consume. Our WiFi network is a big part of this, as WiFi handover makes for a more cost-effective and consistent mobility experience in more places – complementing and enhancing our growing 4G coverage," said Miles.
Speeds attainable over Telecom's Wi-Fi network will depend on distance from the hotspot, number of concurrent users, and interference from other wireless networks in the area. It is unclear how the performance of the Wi-Fi network will compare to Telecom's 4G offering.