Boost for rural high-speed broadband as Spark’s 4G rollout begins…

Spark New Zealand announced today that it has begun its rollout of 4G services on the recently acquired 700MHz spectrum in the Waikato, enabling 12 sites with 4G in the region.

Following a successful trial earlier this year Spark, in conjunction with Huawei Technologies has now livened up sites with 4G in Te Aroha, central Hamilton, Morrinsville, Mystery Creek and other surrounding areas in the Waikato – allowing customers to access high speed mobile broadband over the 700 MHz spectrum.

“Today marks the start of an accelerated rollout of 4G services to regional New Zealand,” says David Havercroft, COO, Spark Networks.

“Over the next few months we’ll continue to widen our 4G footprint in the Waikato region, including the Coromandel, and will bring this technology to existing sites by February 2015.

“Before Christmas this year we’ll also extend our coverage to Rotorua, enabling 4G over 700MHz in the northern part of the region, building on our existing 4G coverage in central Rotorua on the 1800MHz spectrum. This is part of our broader plan to extend 4G on the Spark Network to a range of other locations across the country.”

Havercroft says customers in rural areas can now begin to take advantage of the many benefits Spark’s 4G network provides – particularly faster speeds.

“We made a significant investment in the recent government auction to secure more spectrum blocks in the 700 MHz range than any other provider,” he adds.

“The more spectrum a mobile operator has the faster the speeds it can offer to its customers and the more data it can carry.

“So, for our customers this will mean significantly faster access to online content on their mobile devices, wherever they’re located in 4G coverage areas.”

Havercroft says the investment in and rollout of its 4G services is just another sign of Spark New Zealand’s commitment to providing high speed mobile broadband to rural customers throughout New Zealand.

“Rural communities are the engine rooms of our economy,” he adds. “We know rural customers and agribusinesses in these communities need access to fast mobile data so they can tap into the latest technologies, driving greater efficiencies and giving them the means to explore new opportunities.

“We’re excited to be enabling that.”

Currently customers can access 4G on 700 MHz using two smartphones – the HTC One (M8) and the Samsung Galaxy S5 (G900i*).

“We paid a premium price to secure spectrum on our preferred lower end of the 700 MHz band, which closely aligns with the spectrum allocated in Australia,” Havercroft adds.

“This gives us confidence in the compatibility that new devices will have with our network. By the end of the year we will range around 10 devices that work on the 700 MHz spectrum.”

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