Telecom lets 4G loose in the wild

Telecom lets 4G loose in the wild

Telecom has demo-ed a slew of ways customers can make the most of its 4G network in the real world of work and home. The showcase of what's designed to be faster or easier using 4G, 3G, fibre and wifi comes on the eve of the telco's 4G launch in parts of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch tonight.

Among them were Gen-i's hosted unified communications service ReadyCloud, which demonstrated a video conference session over the 4G network, and one of the 4G standard LTE devices available at launch — the ruggedised Telecom R83 ​— streaming video after being dropped into a bucket of water.

Gen-i teamed with partner SAP to show two applications on the ReadyCloud Mobility platform, designed to encourage people to report neighbourhood issues like damage, hazards and graffiti.

The two apps, Citizen Connect and SAP Work Manager, were used to show how large photo files could be quickly uploaded over the 4G network for streamlined communication between citizens and their local council. Telecom partner Revera demonstrated its c-Stack on demand workplace productivity suite at the event.

There was also a speedy upload to social media of a large image file, taken using the Nokia Lumia 1020's 41MP camera, music streaming on the HTC One Mini and an English Premier League football stream over the 4G network.

“When it comes to using the 4G network, we want our customers to feel confident diving in, going nuts, and taking advantage of how quickly they can do things like stream music and videos, make video calls, upload big files to the cloud," says Telecom Retail CEO Chris Quin.

It says its addressing concerns over data usage and costs by building out its network of wi-fi hotspots (there are 750 currently) and increasing data allowances on its Ultra Mobile plans.

Telecom customers can manage their data usage using a browser, their mobile m.telecom.co.nz or the Telecom Smartphone app.

Upgrading to 4G is free for Telecom customers, but they need a compatible device and SIM card (Telecom is offering free 4G SIMs).

Of the 18 compatible devices available at launch, the Huawei Ascend P2 and E5776 wifi hospot, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and Note 3 are CAT4 devices, which are theoretically capable of download speeds of 150 megabits a second and upload speeds of 51 Mbps. More common are CAT3 smartphones, with a theoretical maximum speed down of 100 Mbps.

Telecom says it will announce at least one more CAT4 device by the end of the year.

It says the CAT4 devices were giving speeds of more than 100 Mbps when it tested on the loaded network at the event, but speeds depend on a range of factors. 

Telecom will be able to build out its 4G network after successfully bidding for blocks of the 700MHz spectrum previously used for analogue television delivery.