Telecom will begin trialling its high-speed 4G data network over the 700 MHz spectrum next month, alongside partner Huawei Technologies.
According to Telecom, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has approved temporary use of the spectrum for trial purpose, even while the Government's spectrum auction remains unfinished.
The non-commercial trial, involving selected customers, is meant to provide experience to inform the future network build.
The trial will be conducted by Telecom in conjunction with Huawei Technologies over 11 cell sites spread across three Waikato locations including central Hamilton and the Mystery Creek Events Centre.
Telecom will use Huawei wireless routers for testing purposes, meaning access to the trial network will be limited to those involved in the trial. Testing will begin in late May and run for approximately four weeks.
Telecom COO David Havercroft said the trial will help Telecom to hit the ground running once the spectrum becomes commercially available, speeding up the delivery of Telecom’s 4G mobile network beyond the major metropolitan centres.
“We’re excited to see how the 700 MHz spectrum will be used with 4G technology to deliver faster speeds, better 4G coverage and increased network capacity.
“In the meantime we’ve been continuing to invest to improve our services in rural as well as urban areas. In this financial year alone we are investing well over $10 million in co-location on Rural Broadband Initiative sites and rural site upgrades. We’ve also continued to build out our nationwide WiFi network, which has grown to over 900 hotspots since we launched it last year,” said Havercroft.
In addition to technical testing, Telecom will use the trial to showcase 700 MHz 4G at the National Agricultural Fieldays event at Mystery Creek and for piloting mobility solutions with Gen-i clients.
Telecom has already committed to buy 700 MHz spectrum in the Government’s auction and plans to deploy this spectrum once the auction process has concluded.