At a press event in Auckland, Vodafone’s General Manager of Networks, Tony Baird has announced that the carrier will skip two generations of upgrades to its 3G infrastructure, with a view to introducing 28.8Mbps transfer speeds across its network. The upgrade will reportedly reach the country’s main urban centres – Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch – before the end of the year, before being extended to the remainder of its network during 2011. The technology – which the Vodafone Group has already introduced in Hong Kong, Greece and the Netherlands – reportedly utilises dual antennas on mobile phone towers. Vodafone New Zealand users currently have access to peak speeds of between 3.6Mbps and 14.4Mbps. Baird commented: ‘At Vodafone, we want to give our customers the best we can offer and having trialled the 21Mbps service in central Auckland earlier this year, we’ve made the decision to move straight to the faster 28.8Mbps service’.
In other news, Vodafone New Zealand confirmed that it has submitted a bid for the government’s Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI). Although Baird was reluctant to share details of the bid with the press, it has been rumoured that Vodafone is preparing to submit a joint bid in collaboration with the Regional Fibre Group (RFG), a consortium of electricity lines and fibre companies. The Economic Development Ministry is due to name the winner of the RBI tender in December.