Vodafone New Zealand is the first of the country’s cellcos to switch on commercial 700MHz 4G LTE mobile services, with a launch at the end of last week in the rural area of Papakura, Yahoo News New Zealand reports. Vodafone’s director of technology Sandra Pickering said of the launch: ‘There’s no question that 4G – particularly in rural areas – will deliver economic benefit and have strong impacts for productivity. Our focus this year is about expanding our 4G network to rural New Zealand with 700MHz. We’ll be activating 4G wherever possible on new Rural Broadband Initiative sites this year. In addition to a progressive upgrade of our existing sites with 700MHz, we will also be building a number of new sites each year to further improve our coverage.’
In October 2013 Vodafone won its 700MHz allocation in the digital dividend auction alongside rivals Telecom New Zealand and 2degrees. The UK-backed operator spent NZD66 million (USD54.5 million, plus goods and services tax [GST]) for a 2×15MHz block.