Telecom New Zealand said it will launch commercial LTE services over the 1800-MHz spectrum band in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch next month.
The incumbent carrier plans to launch 4G services on November 12for prepaid and pay monthly customers at no additional cost.This is seen as a move to take on rival Vodafone, which launched its 4G services in February and charged users NZ$10 (US$8.33) a month extra to use the LTE network.
“Telecom’s decision to make its 4G network freely available to all of its customers is another significant step towards providing an integrated network of fiber, 3G, 4G and WiFi.” David Havercroft, chief operating officer of the operator, states.
In addition to offering LTE with existing tariff plans, Telecom has also introduced new “Ultra Mobile” 4G-ready plans, which include higher data caps. Users will need to own a 4G-capable phone enabled for Telecom’s network, and upgrade to a 4G SIM card.
The telco will also offer free WiFi for its contract and prepaid mobile customers.
Havercroft says Telecom’s 4G network is being built by Huawei, Cisco and Ericsson, in collaboration with existing 3G network technology provider Alcatel-Lucent.
The announcement of the 4G launch comes days after Telecom confirmed it has registered to bid for 700-MHz spectrum freed up by the digital switchover of analog TV services.
Telecom chief executive Simon Moutter said the company would participate in the 4G auction expected to commence on October 29 and wants to use the spectrum as the backbone of its 4G network.