Tuesday, 20 June 2017 21:40

Queenstown ahead of the pack in NZ as first town with 4.5G Featured

A rigger upgrading the Spark Queenstown Central mobile tower to 4.5G A rigger upgrading the Spark Queenstown Central mobile tower to 4.5G

New Zealand telco Spark has switched on 4.5G in the iconic tourist spot of Queenstown, with the town becoming the first in the country to have the fastest mobile data services.

Spark says 4.5G is now live across five mobile towers in the area encompassing Queenstown, the city CBD, Frankton and Arrowtown.

The launch of 4.5G in Queenstown follows single-tower deployments by Spark covering limited areas in the Christchurch CBD and Silverdale, Auckland last year, but the company says this is the first time the technology has been activated on a cluster of towers to deliver the improved capability to a wider geographic region.

Spark chief operating officer Mark Beder says the deployment is an important stepping stone to 5G, which is likely to become commercially available sometime in the next few years.

“4.5G is an important part of our strategy because it helps us prepare for a 5G future today, keeping up with the changes in the ways people will use wireless technology over the next few years. Because 4.5G combines a range of radio spectrum and uses it more efficiently, we can provide more capacity and speeds to our customers, allowing them to do more.

“Queenstown is the tourism capital of New Zealand, surrounded by marvellous mountains and the gorgeous Lake Wakatipu. The region’s world-class adventure and relaxation activities create experiences that are tailor-made for sharing, and deserve a world-class network to do it on.”

Beder points to the fact that 4.5G is the next generation of mobile technology, capable of delivering more capacity and faster speeds, and giving people more connectivity options.

According to Beder, the upgrade puts the Spark network slightly ahead of devices, with no commercially available modems or phones supporting the entire range and combination of 4.5G features at the moment.

But, he says most new high-end phones support many 4.5G features, which propels their speeds to between three and five times faster than regular 4G.

“Real-world testing in Queenstown has been delivering over 400 megabits-per-second (Mbps), and specialised equipment reached a peak speed of 1.15 gigabits per second (Gbps) in Christchurch last year. Actual speeds may vary based on device being used and load on the tower the customer is connected to.”

Spark says the launch of 4.5G in Queenstown will also deliver plenty of new capacity, allowing the town’s residents to benefit from wireless broadband as an alternative to fixed-line services for low to moderate data users of home broadband.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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