Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Vodafone unveils 4G - now live in Auckland

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Vodafone has this morning announced the launch of new 4G mobile internet services - which runs at speeds 10 times faster than the existing network.

It says the new 4G network will allow customers to stream, download, upload, browse and game faster than ever before.

This means a book can be downloaded in less than a second, stream a half hour show in less than 5 seconds and download an album in less than 3 seconds.

Vodafone has been upgrading its network and celltowers behind the scenes over the past six months and today was able to announce it is ready for customers to use.

It is now live for Vodafone customers in parts of Auckland and the network will expand to more suburbs across the city weekly. It says 4G will be live in parts of Christchurch in May, and parts of Wellington in August and September this year.

Some 65,000 Vodafone customers currently have 4G enabled devices, but they will need a software upgrade. Those wanting to use the new service will pay an extra $10 a month.

Those already on a $120 per month plan will receive 4G services as part of their package.

Vodafone is giving more details of the network here.

A speed test run on an iPhone 5 this morning showed download speeds of 76 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 49Mbps.

Russell Stanners, chief executive of Vodafone New Zealand, said the launch of a commercial 4G network was " a major milestone for New Zealand."

"For many people, their smartphone has become one of the few items that they can't leave home without. 4G is the network that the best smartphones were made for, meaning you can access all the information and entertainment you want in real time - and connect faster than ever before," he said.

Vodafone is not upping the data caps in its plans in conjunction with the 4G launch. Stanners said that surveys and overseas experience showed existing caps would be adequate.

Latest versions of the iPhone 5 and iPads, including the new iPad mini are 4G capable. Latest versions of Samsung's Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note II are also able to use it. Stanners said in the next few months Vodafone hoped to have 12 4G devices available for sale.

Telecommunications Users Association head Paul Brislen said as well as downloading mobile data quickly, 4G also lets users upload things such as video files at faster rates.

Telecom started a 4G trial for 100 of its customers in Auckland and Wellington this month. It plans to launch 4G services to its customers by the end of the year.

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