The future of mobile networks arrived in central Auckland today with Telecom making carrier aggregation (CA) technology live on six of its 4G mobile sites.
Carrier aggregation allows mobile users to access two mobile spectrum bands simultaneously over their mobile devices – the combination giving them a significant increase in data speeds.
Telecom’s mobile network has arrived ahead of device capability, but the telco expects to have CA-capable devices commercially available on its network by the end of this year or early next year.
Chief Operating Officer David Havercroft says when CA devices do come to market, Telecom customers will be able to take advantage of “phenomenal” data speeds straight away.
“This sets up the Telecom network to stay right out front when it comes to future technology," he says.
“Carrier aggregation on our network allows for theoretical peak speeds of 300Mbps, and our testing has seen speeds on live sites of up to 260Mbps download.
"This is roughly double the theoretical peak speeds on our existing 4G network, and more than seven times the theoretical peaks available on 3G.
“Obviously when we have multiple users on the network in the real world, these speeds will come down, but the technology will still make a big difference to how people can use their mobiles, tablets and any other CA-capable smart devices – downloading high definition videos and uploading large files, for example, will happen in seconds.”
Havercroft says that over the coming months his team would continue to test the network and refine the customer experience, in anticipation of CA-capable devices coming to market.
Telecom launched its 4G network in November 2013 in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. It has recently announced it is extending 4G capability to a number of other New Zealand towns over the next few months, including Dunedin, Rotorua, Blenheim and Nelson.
Telecom is also about to begin a non-commercial customer 4G trial in the Waikato using the 700MHz spectrum, which the government is currently auctioning off for use in mobile services.
The 700MHz spectrum will be important in bringing affordable 4G mobile data services to most of New Zealand, as it delivers greater reach and enhanced in-building coverage over other higher band frequencies. This makes it more efficient to build and ideally suited for delivering 4G services in regional areas.
The telco has worked with technology partner Huawei to bring this new potential to New Zealand.