Telecom New Zealand (Telecom) has revealed that it will launch trials of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in parts of Wellington and Auckland from tomorrow. French-US vendor Alcatel-Lucent will reportedly conduct the test which will take place in the Lower Hutt area of Wellington using spectrum in the 2600MHz band. Meanwhile, China’s Huawei Technologies has been called on to carry out a separate pilot – again using 2600MHz frequencies – in parts of the North Shore in Auckland. Both of the trial regions, Telecom has noted, cover ‘residential and light industrial property, a section of motorway and SMEs’, a fact which it claims will allow it to test the technology and customer experience in a variety of contexts.
Two smaller trials of the 4G technology meanwhile are to be conducted outside of the main centres, with Telecom noting that Alca-Lu will trial services in a rural part of southern Hawke’s Bay utilising 700MHz frequencies, while Huawei will deploy a test LTE network operating over the 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands in a small area of Rotorua.
According to Telecom, the first phase of the trial will run from 7 December 2012 until mid-February next year, and will focus on testing how the network performs in different situations, while it will also examine possible coverage models for the network. A second phase, involving customer trials, will subsequently begin in mid-February, and run until the end of March. The company said it is still aiming to launch commercial 4G services by early 2014.
Ed Hyde, Telecom’s general manager for mobile products, has issued an update on the rollout of the operator’s 3G network, noting: ‘Telecom’s 100% 3G Smartphone Network, which is built specifically for smartphones, already provides a very good quality experience for our customers. We have made this even better with the rollout of dual carrier HSPA+ technology to almost 30% of the network, and we plan to extend this to nearly 50% of the network early in the New Year.’
Alongside detailing its LTE trial plans, Telecom has announced that it has selected Sweden’s Ericsson to supply equipment for the Home Location Register (HLR) combined with the Home Subscriber Service (HSS), which it said is a core part of both the existing 3G and new 4G network.