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Topic # 159982 19-Dec-2014 09:46
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Spark New Zealand said today it believes it is overtaking its rivals in respect of 4G mobile data services, after making rapid strides in its network build over recent months.

Spark New Zealand now has 4G mobile data services available in more than 70 cities, towns and other locations around New Zealand, covering roughly two-thirds of the population.

“Since we launched 4G just over a year ago, we’ve frankly been playing catch-up with our main competitor, who had a head start on us with their 4G build,” said David Havercroft, Chief Operating Officer, Spark Connect.

“We’ve now closed that gap. Based on our projected build over the next few months, we’re confident that if we’re not already in a leadership position in terms of coverage, we will be any time soon.”

Havercroft said he believed the improving quality of 4G services over the Spark Network was also beginning to leave competitors behind, as the company rapidly rolls out 4G services throughout New Zealand utilising the 1800MHz and newly-acquired 700MHz spectrum bands, as well as the introduction of Carrier Aggregation into Auckland.

“A quality mobile data network is crucial to New Zealand’s economic growth, and as New Zealand’s digital services company we are determined to deliver the best. We are forging a leadership position on 4G and the Spark Network is only going to keep getting better in the coming months.”

Spark New Zealand is also surging ahead when it comes to building 4G coverage over the 700MHz spectrum band – which is crucial for providing mobile data coverage in rural areas.

“The lower the radio spectrum frequency, the further its signal travels – which means in rural areas with low populations the 700MHz spectrum band is ideal because it can deliver great coverage from fewer cell sites. It will allow us to bring high-speed mobile broadband coverage to communities where previously it would have been uneconomic,” said Havercroft.

A 700 MHz cell site covers an area four to six times greater, and provides more effective coverage within buildings, than an equivalent 1800 MHz cell site delivering 4G services.

Spark New Zealand launched commercial 4G services over 700MHz in August, with an initial focus in the Waikato region. The 700 MHz rollout will be a key focus of the company’s mobile network improvements through 2015.

Earlier this year, Spark New Zealand invested $158 million – more than double its competitors – to acquire the maximum amount of 700MHz radio spectrum as part of a Government auction process.

Havercroft said Spark New Zealand was also investing in new 4G technologies that will drive improved experiences for mobile customers using the Spark Network.

“All of our 4G cell sites are ‘category 4’ capable, which means they can give speeds up to 50% faster than other 4G cell sites.

“We have also installed a technology called “Carrier Aggregation” on some of our cell sites in Auckland, with plans to roll it out further over time - this essentially doubles data speeds, by using two spectrum bands at the same time.”

“It’s about future proofing,” Havercroft commented. “As our customers upgrade to newer and more sophisticated devices that can capitalise on these new 4G technologies – and we know the average high end mobile device owner now upgrades their device every 18 months or so – they are going to notice a big improvement in speeds on the Spark Network.”

Havercroft said the partnership with global technology company Huawei – which has more than 70,000 staff worldwide focussed just on research and development -- was giving the Spark Network a competitive edge. Last month, Spark New Zealand and Huawei signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate further on ways to underpin New Zealand’s mobile future.

The demand on New Zealand’s mobile networks has accelerated over the past few years, with around 70% of New Zealanders now owning a data-capable smartphone.

Spark New Zealand currently provides 3G mobile services to approximately 97% of populated areas across the country and Havercroft said he expected 4G coverage would grow over time to similar levels.




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  Reply # 1200494 19-Dec-2014 11:46
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Now while its great that Spark continue to expand their 4G network, the communications unit earnt their Cristmas cookies with that one, my head is still spinning from all the "believes" "roughly" "will be soons"

 

 

"it believes it is overtaking "

 

So has Spark overtaken or Not, It seems even they dont know,

 

 

"we’re confident that if we’re not already in a leadership position in terms of coverage, we will be any time soon.”

 

 

So your case to the Advertising Standards Authority over VFs very obvious advertising of "NZ's largest 4G network" is being posted today?, tomorrow,? next week, next month,?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1200503 19-Dec-2014 11:58
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There is an awful lot of hot air, exaggerated claims and to be honest some blatant lies that have come out of Spark in recent months from various across various areas of the business. While the company may have turned around in many ways, there are some areas where things have certainly taken a large step backwards.



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  Reply # 1200518 19-Dec-2014 12:14
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I wonder what counter press release Vodafone will put out today? We're already "Bla bla bla..." :)




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  Reply # 1200530 19-Dec-2014 12:35
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As a consumer, the only thing this tells me is that Spark are formally acknowledging that Vodafone's 4G network has been better performing than theirs until now, and that they're not even 100% sure whether there's is better right now. Which would I choose as a potential customer of either right now?

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  Reply # 1200542 19-Dec-2014 12:54
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Both networks still come down to personal preference of the customer -  who really needs excessive data speeds on their phone? I am just happy to be able to use my phone at the most locations I can.

In Nelson for example, I spend quite a bit of time at my parents place and they've got no Vodafone + 2degrees coverage however Spark offers full coverage - this is the only reason why I am still with Spark (that, and my plan is un-matchable by the competitors and suits me well).

4G on Spark is plenty fast for my needs so quite frankly this press release is meaningless for customers (below speedtest from Wellington CBD):





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  Reply # 1200546 19-Dec-2014 13:04
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michaelmurfy: Both networks still come down to personal preference of the customer -  who really needs excessive data speeds on their phone? I am just happy to be able to use my phone at the most locations I can.

In Nelson for example, I spend quite a bit of time at my parents place and they've got no Vodafone + 2degrees coverage however Spark offers full coverage - this is the only reason why I am still with Spark (that, and my plan is un-matchable by the competitors and suits me well).

4G on Spark is plenty fast for my needs so quite frankly this press release is meaningless for customers (below speedtest from Wellington CBD):






Exactly my position on it, being in the same position of parents living 'rurally' signal is my first consideration.


Spark historically require a walk all the way up the driveway for a bar of signal - there are a few 'pockets' now-days, spark have certainly improved there, but it simply isn't optimal to be able to walk around using it. 

But Vodafone have a far better track record - on average 1~3 bars on 2G and 3G+ is generally 3~5 bars.


To avoid the congestion within the house on the adsl, 95% of the time i sit on 3G around home because why not?


I am keen to see how well VFs 700mhz 4G works here once live (looking at gis it isnt, but need to switch out my phone to actually check physically.)




#include <std_disclaimer>

 

Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.


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  Reply # 1200565 19-Dec-2014 13:53
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I visited my parents place in Katikati last weekend. They now have spark 4G 700Mhz pretty much everywhere.

Works really well.

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  Reply # 1200566 19-Dec-2014 13:54
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What I don't get is when Vodafone advertises that having the largest 4g network means the most reliable network... How does that work?

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  Reply # 1200567 19-Dec-2014 13:58
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benokobi: What I don't get is when Vodafone advertises that having the largest 4g network means the most reliable network... How does that work?


because marketing.

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  Reply # 1200840 19-Dec-2014 21:27
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What Spark doesn't mention is if you want more than 3 GB their data is the most expensive by a large margin.

2degrees 12 GB for $99 $8.25/GB

Vodafone 7 GB for $80 $11.43/GB

Skinny 10 GB for $120 $12.00/GB

Spark 5 GB for $89 $17.80/GB

Note Vodafone 7 GB is 5 GB plus 4 top ups of $20 with 500 MB free per top up.

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  Reply # 1200852 19-Dec-2014 21:50
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Great to see Peter Reader as first responder to Press-releases

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  Reply # 1200871 19-Dec-2014 22:44
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does he actually have money to pay the subs

Doesn't know what he doin
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  Reply # 1200886 19-Dec-2014 23:23
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doug3: What Spark doesn't mention is if you want more than 3 GB their data is the most expensive by a large margin.

2degrees 12 GB for $99 $8.25/GB

Vodafone 7 GB for $80 $11.43/GB

Skinny 10 GB for $120 $12.00/GB

Spark 5 GB for $89 $17.80/GB

Note Vodafone 7 GB is 5 GB plus 4 top ups of $20 with 500 MB free per top up.


And why would they mention that? It has nothing to do with this press release whatsoever. 




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  Reply # 1200905 20-Dec-2014 04:28
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Well I hope this see's an improvement to what I put up with with Spark last month on 4G 

Greymouth, Queenstown, Picton, Blenheim and Christchurch, 

On an Xperia Z1 often had to put the phone to flight mode and back to data as the network just stalled, would not access 4G or 3G despite full bar coverage in all but Greymouth,  was a long way out along the coast at times, centre of town was full bars :)

Great to see the networks competing but as others have said data speeds are one thing, but if you ask me coverage and being able to use the phone with out a going to flight mode and back is more important.

On a side note an Xperia Z2 on Vodafone in all of the above areas including Arthur's Pass had no problems, no need to go to flight mode and back on 3G/4G (where accessible) though coverage wise both networks in those areas have some better spots than the other.

But bring on 700Mhz, will be good to see it across the west coast.


 

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  Reply # 1200906 20-Dec-2014 04:52
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thelongwayround: Well I hope this see's an improvement to what I put up with with Spark last month on 4G 

Greymouth, Queenstown, Picton, Blenheim and Christchurch, 

On an Xperia Z1 often had to put the phone to flight mode and back to data as the network just stalled, would not access 4G or 3G despite full bar coverage in all but Greymouth,  was a long way out along the coast at times, centre of town was full bars :)

Great to see the networks competing but as others have said data speeds are one thing, but if you ask me coverage and being able to use the phone with out a going to flight mode and back is more important.

On a side note an Xperia Z2 on Vodafone in all of the above areas including Arthur's Pass had no problems, no need to go to flight mode and back on 3G/4G (where accessible) though coverage wise both networks in those areas have some better spots than the other.

But bring on 700Mhz, will be good to see it across the west coast.


 


I don't have those problems with stalling data with the note 4 I have. Might be your Z1 handset?

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