Telecom will launch its 4G network in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on 12 November for prepaid and plan customers.
The telco is offering free 4G SIMs until the end of January next year and asking customers to visit its website to pre-register for the upgrade and check whether their phone is compatible.
"Whether they are shopping online, streaming music or making stutter-free video calls to family and friends, 4G will allow our customers to do a whole lot more, a whole lot faster on their mobile devices," says Telecom retail chief executive Chris Quin. "It will also allow businesses to stimulate more efficient ways of working remotely with teams on the road able to make reliable video calls, download pictures and documents in seconds and use cloud services on their mobiles."
The 4G service will use LTE over the 1800MHz spectrum. According to Telecom's website, rollout in rural areas will depend on whether Telecom is successful in the auction of the old 700MHz analogue TV spectrum, best used in less densely populated areas.
Telecom expects to have half of its 4G network live by mid-2014 and will keep updating its website with details of where it will launch next.
The service won't cover all of the three main centres, but will be live in Auckland's CBD, central suburbs and selected suburbs in the city's east, west, north and south, Telecom says. In Wellington it will cover the northern CBD and fringe suburbs, and parts of Lower Hutt, and in Christchurch it will cover parts of the CBD, Telecom says.
Among the 4G LTE compatible phones it currently has in market are the iPhone 5, the Nokia Lumia 920, the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the Sony Experia Z and the Blackberry Z10. The telco expects to introduce more by the time the 4G service launches. Devices will require a software upgrade at the time of launch.
Telecom’s Chief Operating Officer David Havercroft says Telecom has had promising results from testing the network. It is collaborating with its 3G partner Alcatel Lucent and vendors Huawei, Cisco and Ericsson.
Telecom says LTE rollouts offshore have allowed users to download an e-book in less than a second, stream or buffer a half hour TV show in less than five seconds and download an album is less than three seconds.
Customers won't initially be able to roam using the 4G service.
The telco says it's also introduced a new look retail brand that adds a range of colours, other than blue, to the Telecom 'spark' logo.
"Our brand refresh is about far more than a colour change. It’s about bringing a completely new tone to how we communicate with and what we offer our customers.
"We wanted to deliver new things before changing the label, and so we have transformed the network experience we’re offering both our mobile and our fixed customers. That’s something we’re very proud of and so we think we’ve earned the right to change our brand."
Telecom introduced the abstract blue logo, designed by Designworks, four years ago.