New Zealand’s two dominant mobile operators – Vodafone and Spark – announced their 4G networks now cover more than 90 per cent of the population.
Vodafone technology director Tony Baird said the company worked hard to extend its 4G network to 94 per cent of the population, and the government-backed Rural Broadband Initiative played an important role.
“Our vision is to take 4G services to more than 99 per cent of the population, and we’re confident we’ll get there through a combination of ongoing investment and innovation,” he said in a statement.
Spark announced its 4G network reaches 93 per cent of the population.
Colin Brown, Spark GM of networks, said its 700MHz deployments are bringing more connectivity to people in rural areas, and its 2.3GHz spectrum was deployed to 44 sites to give people more capacity for mobile data and more options for wireless broadband.
The two operators hit the target of giving 90 per cent of New Zealanders access to 4G services two years ahead of schedule, said Communications Minister Simon Bridges. In 2013 the government set the objective that 90 per cent of the population would have access to 4G services by 2019.
“As part of the government’s 2013 objective, Vodafone and Spark were required to build new towers to provide new coverage each year for five years. They’re well on track to meet this deadline – creating even better coverage and capacity for rural communities,” Bridges said.
Vodafone and Spark have a combined market share of nearly 77 per cent. GSMA Intelligence figures show 4G subscribers accounted for 62 per cent of Vodafone’s user base, and 43 per cent of Spark’s customers, at end-Q4.
Third ranked 2degrees, with a 23 per cent market share, had 570,000 4G subscribers at end-Q4, accounting for 41 per cent of its total user base.