Are Vodafone NZ holding NZ's best kept secret?

By Steve Biddle, in , posted: 29-Jan-2013 14:19

If you've upgraded your iPhone5 to iOS 6.1 this morning you'll now see a new setting in the network settings screen:

iOS devices need to have the carrier pack configured to allow LTE on supported networks before LTE can be used. This option will only show in phones that have had the carrier pack set to allow LTE. Vodafone New Zealand isn't listed as an official LTE carrier on the Apple website but it would be safe to assume that Apple aren't going to ruin things for Vodafone and announce something before Vodafone themselves do.

So what secret are Vodafone holding from us?

It's no secret they've just upgraded over 400 cellsites around the Auckland region over the weekend to deliver 900 MHz Dual Carrier 3G services across the Auckland region (I wrote about this here on Friday). Vodafone also have plenty of 1800MHz spectrum to deploy a LTE network on.

Does this hardware support a technology they haven't yet told us about? You decide...

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Comment by Behodar, on 29-Jan-2013 14:53

Does the option disappear when using a Telecom or 2D SIM? I know that iOS 6.0 needed the carrier bundle for LTE, but maybe 6.1 shows it for everyone.

Comment by freitasm, on 29-Jan-2013 15:10

Yes, they are...

Comment by chevrolux, on 29-Jan-2013 16:20

900 dual carrier hmmm...
900+900=1800 Is that how it works? lol..

Comment by oxnsox, on 29-Jan-2013 17:17

Not like Vodafone at all...... They're usually firmly up-front with their 'no-comments'. ;-)

Comment by freitasm, on 29-Jan-2013 18:24

Chevrolux, you're missing the point...

Comment by AKLWestie, on 29-Jan-2013 21:15

If you use bartender's NZ cell site map ( and do some search (I tried albany, auckland and queen street auckland city) and click on some of the Vodafone cell sites, you can see quite a few of them are operating on 1800MHz.

Comment by AKLWestie, on 29-Jan-2013 21:26

Author's note by sbiddle, on 29-Jan-2013 21:30

Vodafone operate a 1800MHz GSM network along with their 900MHz GSM network - these sites will be existing 1800MHz GSM sites.

Comment by dwknight, on 30-Jan-2013 10:52

My Telecom iPhone 5 doesn't have the LTE switch and my Dad's Vodafone iPhone 5 does have the switch. Do you think it wastes battery having the switch enabled even though there isn't any LTE yet?

Comment by stuartgr, on 30-Jan-2013 15:48

Yes. Yes they are holding out :)

Comment by Aloha, on 30-Jan-2013 16:25

Secret? Hmmm.. Wink

Comment by freitasm, on 30-Jan-2013 16:28

They could have had a big splash with a presence in Apple's list of approved LTE operators when Apple iOS 6.1 was released...

Comment by coffeebaron, on 30-Jan-2013 21:42

I wouldn't say best kept secret. It's no secret they have been doing a lot of work upgrading to single RAN, and most likely those single RAN boxes will be LTE ready. My prediction LTE by 31-March

Comment by cody, on 30-Jan-2013 23:41

Sorry guys, I hate to burst your bubble and I want LTE as much as the next guy but I think the button actually refers to the new DC-HSPA network that is being rolled out. I managed to find a copy of the carrier bundle. There is a section that enables a "4G" toggle. This is important because in the US AT&T on the iPhone "4G" refers to a HSPA network. There is also a section that actually discuss the configuration of the network connectivity. It appears to be configuring HSDPA category 24 (dual-carrier 42.2Mbps) and HSUPA category 6 (5.76Mbps). Although, there is also mention of LTE I find this unlikely as the fields appear to be un-configured and there is also fields for CDMA/EVDO (which Vodafone NZ does not and will not operate). I'd say that this is actually more of a cosmetic change, although, it may also have a (probably negligible) impact on the battery life too. See here for the actual carrier bundle files:

Comment by johnr, on 28-Feb-2013 14:14

Nice post Cody but you are incorrect! Vodafone NZ launched the real deal 4G / LTE

Comment by Joe the Field tech, on 20-May-2013 12:05

Nice to see you guys watching the network build as it happens, we work tirelessly in the dark and even harder keeping secrets, lol. Just found this post now, after we have been hard at work building what you now know is launched. Hope you are enjoying it. I especially love the 900+900 = 1800 bit, lol no disrespect there, just a funny comment that made us smile. We actually had a appie ask the same question, "So if we put those two 900's in, that's where the 1800 LTE comes from..?.?.", was a real kicker that day.

sbiddle's profile

Steve Biddle
New Zealand

I'm an engineer who loves building solutions to solve problems.

I also love sharing my views and analysis of the tech world on this blog, along with the odd story about aviation and the travel industry.

My interests and skillset include:

*VoIP (Voice over IP). I work with various brands of hardware and PBX's on a daily basis
  -Asterisk (incl PiaF, FreePBX, Elastix)

  -xDSL deployments

*Structured cabling
  -Home/office cabling
  -Phone & Data

*Computer networking
  -Mikrotik hardware
  -WAN/LAN solutions

*Wireless solutions
  -Motel/Hotel hotspot deployments
  -Outdoor wireless deployments, both small and large scale
  -Temporary wireless deployments
*CCTV solutions
  -Analogue and IP

I'm an #avgeek who loves to travel the world (preferably in seat 1A) and stay in nice hotels.

+My views do no represent my employer. I'm sure they'll be happy to give their own if you ask them.

You can contact me here or by email at