Joyce outlines New Zealand’s 4G plans

22 Dec 2009

New Zealand’s ICT Minister Steven Joyce has confirmed reports that the initial frequency allocation for 4G services will follow the country’s digital switchover, using spectrum vacated by analogue services, ZDNet reports. The spectrum allocations will come into effect sometime after the switchover, which is expected between 2013 and 2015. The spectrum between 502MHz and 694MHz is to be allocated for digital television use while the spectrum between 694MHz and 802MHz will be allocated for ‘new uses’, including 4G. Joyce said: ‘This will allow New Zealanders to have access to significantly faster and better mobile broadband services as new 4G mobile phone and broadband services are implemented.’ The government had previously suggested that the frequencies be used for rural broadband provision but said such use had attracted little interest from operators; further consideration of the best use of this spectrum will take place when the government reviews its 4G plans in 2011. A government statement said: ‘It is anticipated that existing mobile networks will need augmentation around the time of digital switchover, which will provide a timely opportunity to make a decision about whether to introduce 4G services. Now that the boundaries have been set for the spectrum where 4G services could be deployed, the next phase of planning is to finalise a technical frequency plan suitable for 4G usage, and following that, for the government to determine a process for allocating the spectrum. The frequency plan needs to take account of what is being planned internationally, as well as the availability of equipment.’