Home Telecoms & NBN Spark 4.5G rollout continues apace with latest site going live in Taupō

Spark 4.5G rollout continues apace with latest site going live in Taupō

New Zealand’s largest telco Spark has now enabled 30 sites around the country with 4.5G mobile services with the switching on of three new sites across the North Island town of Taupō.

The three 4.5G capable towers are located at Crown Road, Taupō Exchange and Taupō Central.

The launch of 4.5G in Taupō follows other mobile towers in Invercargill, Thames, Waihi, Cromwell, and Christchurch CBD, along with the activation of a cluster of five towers in Queenstown, making a total of 30 sites, with more to follow.

Spark says that while there are only a few devices available that are fully 4.5G capable, many of the latest high-end phones support some of the features, with the potential to propel their speeds to between three and five times faster than regular 4G.

The telco also says that with the innovation of next-generation mobile devices happening all the time, it won’t be long until there are many more devices that are fully 4.5G capable.

Spark chief operating officer Mark Beder says the deployment is an important milestone on Spark’s pathway to 5G.

“4.5G is the fastest mobile capability available today in New Zealand and (it's) only available on Spark. It’s our pathway to 5G and provides New Zealanders with the capability for the faster speeds and higher throughput.

“4.5G is an important part of our strategy because it helps us to prepare for a 5G future today, keeping up with changes in the way 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.”

Beder also says Taupō is the first large town in the North Island to get 4.5G and “with summer just around the corner now is the perfect time to be rolling out 4.5G to cope with the huge influx of visitors Taupō will see over the next 4-5 months, as well as the series of international sporting events Taupō hosts”.

“We see Taupō as a really good opportunity because there are so many different types of businesses and many that use video streaming – like the tourism industry. The uptake you’ll get in terms of speed and capacity is somewhere in the vicinity of 3-5 times faster than a 4G site. So the opportunity for customers is better streaming, more capacity and throughput on their next-generation mobile devices. It also means better service for new and existing wireless broadband customers in this area.”

Beder said last month, 48 terabytes of mobile data was consumed in Taupō — the equivalent of watching more than 46,000 hours of standard streaming on Lightbox or Netflix — and mobile data consumption in Taupō has gone up by around 200% in the last 12 months.

“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 12 months,” he said.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).