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Spark ups the ante in Queenstown

Paul Brislen, Editor. 20 June 2017, 8:08 am

Queenstown just received a massive upgrade to its mobile capability with Spark's rollout of next generation mobile technology.

Dubbed "4.5G" by someone in the marketing department, the upgrade will at least triple speeds on those sites that are part of the upgrade.

Currently Spark has upgraded five sites in Queenstown and plans to deploy across the region to a number of centres in the winter playground region.

Spark's Chief Operating Officer, Mark Beder, says Queenstown is one of the busiest sites in the country and as tourists flock to the region for the winter season, the upgrade is timely.

"New Zealanders have an insatiable demand for data and data-driven products, and Queenstown is right up there. Spark's Peninsula Hill is in the top ten busiest sites for data use in the country, and in May over 53 terabytes of mobile data was used in the region," says Beder in a press release.

Spark, and technology partner Huawei, have already tested 4.5G services in a couple of other areas late last year but this deployment marks the first time 4.5G services have been made available beyond the test environment.

While not a full upgrade, 4.5G services do offer vastly more capability and take advantage of some of the new features the 4G world has to offer, like carrier aggregation, which uses multiple bands of spectrum simultaneously to increase capacity over multiple frequency ranges. Spark has recently purchased spectrum rights in the 2300MHz range and as new handsets come on stream with antenna capable of accessing this spectrum, customers can expect to see an increase in speed.

Spark claims to have "real world" users connecting at 400Mbit/s, significantly faster than currently 4G capability.

Ten more towns are to be activated with 4.5G within the next 12 months, as part of Spark's ongoing 4G upgrade and deployment programme.


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