Telecom New Zealand today announced that its trial of 4G LTE technology will go live in parts of Wellington and Auckland from tomorrow (Friday 7 December).
The Auckland trial will take place in parts of the North Shore on the 2600MHz spectrum and will be conducted by Huawei Technologies. Alcatel-Lucent will run the trial in the Lower Hutt area of Wellington, also on the 2600MHz spectrum. Both trial areas include residential and light industrial property, a section of motorway and small–to–medium enterprises, allowing Telecom to test the technology and customer experience in a variety of contexts.
Telecom is also planning two smaller trials of 4G LTE outside of the main centres. Alcatel-Lucent will conduct a trial on behalf of Telecom in a rural part of southern Hawke’s Bay on the 700MHz spectrum (which will become available after the switch over to digital television) and Huawei will trial at 1800MHz and 2600MHz frequencies in a small area of Rotorua.
The first phase of the trial will run from tomorrow until mid-February and will focus on testing how the network performs in a New Zealand environment in a series of situations - for example its performance under a heavy load. It will also work through possible coverage models for the network, and identify and work through any technical issues that may arise during the deployment process.
The second phase – which involves customer trials - will then begin in mid-February and run until the end of March. Trial participants will be equipped with a 4G-capable device and asked to feed back to Telecom on their experience of using the 4G LTE network in their day-to-day lives.
They will also be asked to carry out and report back on set tasks, such as uploading or downloading large files or video conferencing over their device.
Telecom General Manager for Mobile Products, Ed Hyde, said that Telecom was excited about what the technology would allow its customers to do – both when it is rolled out, and into the future.
“Telecom’s 100% 3G Smartphone Network, which is built specifically for smartphones, already provides a very good quality experience for our customers. We have made this even better with the rollout of dual carrier HSPA+ technology to almost 30% of the network, and we plan to extend this to nearly 50% of the network early in the New Year.
“With such a solid network available to Telecom customers already, moving to a 4G LTE network is all about building for the future. The communications and technology services a 4G LTE network will deliver can, and will, change lives. Whether it is by giving health professionals enhanced access to real-time, high quality video communication with patients in their homes, or dramatically increasing the productivity of businesses with a mobile workforce, Telecom believes this network will be crucial for New Zealand’s future.”
Huawei New Zealand Chief Executive Arthur Zhang says Huawei’s successful 4G LTE deployments around the world have shown the potential of this new technology.
“We are very happy to be demonstrating this revolutionary technology in New Zealand.
“A cutting edge 4G LTE network, combined with Huawei’s suite of 4G LTE devices will allow users to seamlessly access information, services and entertainment, whenever they wish.”
“It is a privilege to be playing a key role in the implementation of next generation mobile communications in New Zealand,” said Andrew Miller, Managing Director of Alcatel-Lucent in New Zealand said: “With over 30 LTE deployments globally and 70 LTE trials underway, we’re looking forward to showcasing our solution locally with Telecom’s Wellington trial.”
Telecom also announced today that it had selected global telecommunications provider Ericsson to supply equipment for the Home Location Register (HLR) combined with the Home Subscriber Service (HSS) a core part of both the existing 3G and new 4G LTE network.
Commenting on Ericsson’s selection, Mr Hyde said “Ericsson has proven capability and delivery expertise in 4G LTE deployments globally and has provided services to Telecom in both the fixed line and mobile parts of the business for a number of years. We’re delighted to extend our relationship with them by naming them as a key partner in building our 4G LTE network.”
Ericsson Country Manager NZ, Alfred Ling, said Ericsson was pleased to be partnering with Telecom on the smart management of customer data and future-proofing their core network. “With the growth of smartphones, machine to machine communications and the uptake of cloud based services, flexible customer data management will enable Telecom to provide a quality customer experience, supported by differentiated and personalised services.”
Mr Hyde said Telecom is still aiming to launch the new network late in 2013/early in 2014.