​Full speed ahead as Vodafone lays early NZ 5G building blocks

Telco rolls out new network technology, designed to allow Kiwi customers to experience faster mobile data speeds across the country.

Vodafone New Zealand has rolled out network technology, designed to allow Kiwi customers to experience faster mobile data speeds across the country.

Billed as the Carrier Aggregation (CA), the tech giant says the network allows different bands of radio spectrum to be paired at mobile cell sites across the country, and will be the first step towards 5G connectivity.

According to Vodafone, early testing has shown the technology delivers a “significant increase” in download speeds for 4G users - average speed increases of up to 56 per cent in some locations.

At present, upgrades have been completed at 72 sites around the country, including Cambridge, Kerikeri, Napier, Blenheim and some sites in Auckland, with dozens more planned for 2016.

“It’s a lot like adding extra lanes to a motorway, enabling a smoother ride and more customers to take advantage of high-speed data at the same time,” says Tony Baird, Technology Director, Vodafone.

“With more than 40 per cent of Vodafone customers now using 4G, data consumption on our 4G network has doubled in the last six months - with video streaming accounting for over 35 per cent of mobile data traffic.

“These trends are set to continue and through Carrier Aggregation, we can continue to provide faster data speeds to support the future needs of Kiwis.”

Baird says New Zealand was last month named as having the world's fastest 4G in an international survey by OpenSignal.

As a result, Baird believes Carrier Aggregation - an early building block towards 5G - will further enhance Vodafone's 4G performance, as the combined spectrums provide a more consistent user experience when moving in and outdoors.

Carrier Aggregation is well-suited to Vodafone's 4G spectrum bands - 700 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz.

Baird says low frequency 700 MHz spectrum has a large footprint, best-placed to deliver coverage to rural areas while 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz spectrum cater to smaller, denser geographical areas - like inner-city and suburban spots.

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