New Zealand could be getting a brand new 4G network before Australia, and even the U.K., when analogue television is switched off in November, 2012, and work is started on building a 4G network for 2013.
From that date the only way New Zealanders will be able to watch TV is with FreeView or a satellite dish.
But the space occupied by analogue TV won’t be wasted. The digital dividend spectrum (that operates in the 700MHz band), freed up by ditching analogue TV, will be used to host a new 4G network that promises to deliver faster mobile broadband and smartphone plans with generous data caps.
The 4G network will enable faster mobile signals with longer range and better penetration than the current 3G network. Remember how Telecom’s 3G Smartphone network campaign assured the whole of New Zealand that you would be able to get a signal from anywhere? Yes, we all remember how well that worked! Despite Telecom’s promises there were still gaps in the network where mobiles couldn’t obtain signal.
But the 4G network is supposed to be a vast improvement upon the old 3G one. Not only will you get a signal everywhere (including rural areas), you’ll even be able to text, talk, and surf the net with a thick layer of concrete between you and the outside world.
With delivery speeds of between 100Mbit/s and 200Mbit/s, the 4G network is touted as the fastest broadband on wireless mobile networks, with a wireless network capable of extending across many kilometres.
New Zealand is expected to sell off the rights to the 700MHz spectrum by the end of 2012, and it’s expected to be divided between Vodafone, Telecom, and 2degrees.