4G or not 4G – that is the questionFebruary 22 - 8am
Yesterday the government revealed it will auction allocations for the radio spectrum band being set aside for 4G mobile phones during the third quarter of this year.
But what does it all mean for you, me and every other Kiwi?
Check out some frequently asked questions below:
Will the new networks be rolled out to rural areas?
As part of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI), the government says all new towers built under the RBI are 4G-ready, with new 4G services starting to be deployed in rural areas as they are deployed in urban centres.
Will I need a new handset when the new mobile technology becomes available?
To take advantage of the new 4G technology, a new handset or device will be required but older devices will continue to work while existing networks are maintained.
Mobile operators are expected to roll out new 4G networks alongside their old 2G and 3G networks.
When will the 700MHz spectrum band be available?
The 700 MHz spectrum band will be available following the switchover to digital television. The switchover is scheduled to finish on 1 December 2013.
The government intends new rights to the spectrum to commence in January 2014, but rights-holders may be able to negotiate early access to the spectrum.
They have also already provided some temporary licences to enable mobile operators to test 700 MHz band services.
How does New Zealand compare with its neighbours for access to these new technologies?
New Zealand is on track to be one of the first in the region to clear and reallocate the 700 MHz band for new uses and technologies.
Australia is likely to auction rights to their 700 MHz band before New Zealand, however, the spectrum in this band is unlikely to be available for use before mid-late 2014.
While some countries in the Asia-Pacific region have started to launch 4G services in other spectrum blocks, the 700 MHz band will be integral for deploying widespread services beyond major cities.
How does the selection of the Asia Pacific Telecommunity band plan align with international developments?
The Asia Pacific Telecommunity band plan has been adopted by the International Telecommunications Union.
Countries that have already committed to or are likely to adopt the band plan include Australia, Japan, Korea, India, South America and the United Arab Emirates.
Europe is also likely to consider options to enable compatibility with this band plan as part of their second digital dividend in a few years.
By aligning with the APT band plan, New Zealand has further potential to tap into larger economies and access a wide variety of handsets and network equipment at lower cost.
Has any spectrum been set aside for an emergency services mobile broadband network?
The emergency services providers have now indicated they prefer spectrum in the 800 MHz band, to better align with international developments. The exact needs will be considered at a later date.