Telecom New Zealand will launch its long-awaited 4G LTE service in November this year, a month later than originally expected.
The service will go live in the three largest cities of the country, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, ahead of the Christmas season and around the time of the launch of the Apple 5s and 5c handsets.
Unlike competitor Vodafone, which launched LTE service in February this year and which charges customers an additional NZ$10 to access the network, Telecom will not ask for a surcharge for 4G data.
The service will be available on both on-contract and prepaid plans but customers will need to swap subscriber information module (SIM) cards for free to enable LTE.
"At this point, customers who want to upgrade to 4G will need to be migrated to this new technology, and need a new SIM to be provisioned on to it. We are providing the SiM free of charge," a Telecom NZ spokesperson said.
Last week, the telco sought clearance from the regulator, the Commerce Commission, to acquire management rights to 700MHz of spectrum, formerly used for analogue television broadcasts.
Telecom is after two twenty MegaHertz bands of 700MHz spectrum, to be used for 4G mobile service, ahead of the government auction of management rights in the coming months.
Huawei is buiding the LTE network for Telecom NZ and it will initally run in the 1800MHz frequency band, with 700MHz coming later.