4G will be available at no additional monthly cost to Telecom's prepay and on-account customers. Vodafone NZ's 4G service is only available to its on-account customers, and costs an additional $10/month.
To use 4G, customers must have a 4G capable smartphone or other device, and a 4G SIM card. Telecom's 4G network is entirely LTE Category 4, which offers theoretical speeds of up to 150Mbit/s download and 51MBit/s upload with Category 4 devices. Most 4G/LTE smartphones currently on sale in New Zealand are Category 3, which offers theoretical speeds of up to 102Mbit/s down, 51MBit/s up.
Telecom coupled its 4G announcement with promotion of it existing Wi-Fi network that currently includes 750 hotspots. On-account Telecom mobile customers, and Telecom prepay customers on $19/$29 prepay packs, will have access to 1GB per day of free traffic on that network.
Phones configured to use the Wi-Fi network will do so instead of 4G when Wi-Fi is available, potentially lowering the paid-for data usage of 4G customers.
Gen-i CEO Tim Miles says that while 4G will help feed growing demand for new applications that leverage 4G speeds, it’s the integration of 3G, 4G, fibre and WiFi into a single platform for mobility, backed by Telecom’s high speed core fibre network, that will deliver a superior overall experience for Gen-i clients and their customers.
“Gen-i’s cloud and mobility services directly connected to our communications networks and data centres will really bring the benefits of 4G to life for our clients, and it’s our ability to deliver these services over a single platform for mobility that will make them quick, easy and cost effective for our clients to consume.
“Our WiFi network is a big part of this, as WiFi handover makes for a more cost-effective and consistent mobility experience in more places – complementing and enhancing our growing 4G coverage," said Miles.
Speeds attainable over Telecom's Wi-Fi network will depend on distance from the hotspot, number of concurrent users, and interference from other wireless networks in the area. It is unclear how the performance of the Wi-Fi network will compare to Telecom's 4G offering.
Telecom earlier announced access to its 4G network would be free for customers with 4G-capable devices – in recognition that faster data speed available on this new technology will quickly become the “new normal” as users embrace smart devices in large numbers.
Vodafone, meanwhile, released today its first 4G Network Report – Leading the 4G Revolution – on how Kiwis are using the network.
Vodafone says the report combines findings from a survey of its 4G customers and network analysis.
Among the key findings:
• 24 per cent of Kiwis use their 4G device to check social media apps at least 20 times a day.
• Kiwis on 4G shop online nearly twice as much as those on 3G.
• Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the most popular social media apps over 4G.
• 62 per centof Kiwis use video streaming websites more since upgrading from 3G.
• Kiwis are more than twice as likely to stream music from free services (like Spotify) on 4G.
• 44 per cent of 4G users use their mobiles as portable hotspots so they can access the internet on their tablets or laptops.
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