Telecom plans 4G customer trials

21:55, May 13 2012

Telecom says it will conduct "live customer trials"' of a 4G mobile network later this year.

Chief executive Paul Reynolds said Telecom was ''committed to remaining at the forefront of mobile technology''.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Fergusson said it expected to use a variety of radio spectrum for the trial.

The company has rights to 40MHz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band that it could use to trial a service, though the deployment of 4G is not expected to begin in earnest until late next year or 2014 when the closure of analogue television will free up prime 700MHz spectrum which Telecom said would be ''important for widespread, cost effective, 4G deployment''.

Telecom nevertheless intends to ''continue on and build real-world experience of 4G operations through this trial'', it said.

Vodafone missed out on a second 40MHz block of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band during a 2007 auction that would also be suitable for a limited 4G roll-out or trial. It was acquired by Canadian company Craig Wireless.

4G networks are expected to lead to cheaper, faster mobile broadband and new applications that rely on low latency such as multiplayer gaming over mobile networks, but also in the proliferation of thousands of new cell sites.  

''4G will deliver an even faster mobile data experience for customers and underpin the performance of more and more advanced smart devices and the applications and services they run,'' Telecom said.