Spark announced today that Invercargill has become the 25th site capable of achieving the fastest mobile data speeds in the country, as 4.5G is switched on in three sites across Invercargill. The
three 4.5G capable towers are located at Heidelberg, Waikiwi and in central Invercargill.
4.5G is the next generation of mobile technology, capable of delivering more capacity and faster speeds, and giving people more connectivity options. The launch of 4.5G in Invercargill follows other towns such as Thames, Waihi, Cromwell, Christchurch CBD, along with the activation of
a cluster of five towers in Queenstown, now making a total of over 25 sites, with more to follow.
The upgrade means the Spark network is slightly ahead of devices, with no commercially available modems or phones fully supporting the entire range and combination of 4.5G features at the moment.
However, most new high-end phones support many 4.5G features, with the potential to propel their speeds to between three and five times faster than regular 4G.
The launch will also deliver plenty of new capacity, allowing Invercargill residents to benefit from Wireless Broadband as an alternative to fixed-line services for low to moderate data users of home
broadband. Wireless Broadband from Spark gives people quality broadband (with
or without a landline), but by connecting to the nearest cell site rather than over a fixed line laid to their house.
Spark's General Manager of Networks, Colin Brown, says the deployment is an important stepping stone to 5G, which is likely to become commercially available sometime in the next few years.
'4.5G is an important part of our strategy because it helps us prepare for a 5G future today, keeping up with the changes in the ways people will use wireless technology over the next few years. Because 4.5G
combines a range of radio spectrum and uses it more efficiently, we can provide
more capacity and speed to our customers, allowing them to do more.'
'With 25 mobile sites with 4.5G, we can offer our customers in those towns more capacity and faster speeds.'
Warrwick Low, Tourism and Events Manager from Venture Southland can see the immediate benefits for residents and visitors.
'Visitors are here to make, and then eventually share their memories. Moreand more we are seeing people live streaming their experiences to their friends and family round the world, and just because Invercargill is the most southern town - it doesn't mean we can't share our memories as instantly as elsewhere.
'Having a mobile network that supports visitors (and locals) share their world is awesome - whether that's while you drive on a 36 tonne digger at Dig This, wandering the rose gardens at Queens
Park or facing the Aurora at Oreti Beach - this seems to be the way for future,so really keen to see what technology can do for us.'
Spark is committed to providing the important infrastructure that New Zealand needs to compete in the new digital economy, and intends to continue to deliver more 4.5G around the country over the next
Notes to the editor:
What is 4.5G
4.5G is an evolution on 4G. Spark is delivering it over a wide range of its
spectrum assets, including the recently acquired 2300MHz spectrum by utilising
'Carrier Aggregation' technology (using multiple bands of spectrum
simultaneously to increase speeds and capacity), 4x4 MIMO (utilising multiple
antennae simultaneously to multiply available capacity), and 256 QAM (or
Quadrature Amplitude Modulation, which improves the efficiency of radio
transmissions and allows for more speed).
Wireless Broadband is a 'plug and play' solution
using the 4G network to provide a fast broadband service to customers who have
previously struggled to get adequate access to the internet. Customers can
check their range of 4G coverage over 700MHz on the Spark website to see
whether they are in an area suitable for Wireless Broadband -http://www.spark.co.nz/wirelessbroadband
Areas in NZ where we now have 4.5G
Auckland - Silverdale and
Queenstown (cluster of 5 mobile
towers including Arrowtown)
Red Hill (Whitianga)
Invercargill (cluster of 3 mobile towers)