The next generation of mobile network technology has been turned on in north Auckland delivering faster speeds, more capacity and more options for residents and businesses, Spark says.
The new 4.5g tower at Silverdale is the second in the country after Christchurch, which received a super fast experimental cellphone network that could one day deliver mobile internet speeds up to one gigabyte a second in May.
This is 27 times faster than the average 4G speed for mobile users of about 36 megabytes per second.
The new tower came to Silverdale because of huge population growth projections and because it’s already the busiest mobile site on the Spark network – with over 1.6 terabytes of data being used each week, Spark Chief Operating Officer Mark Beder said.
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The area’s mobile data use is growing at around 2 per cent a week.
Most of this is driven by video, with it accounting for more than 50 per cent of the data being used at peak times.
Social media applications like Facebook and Twitter drive 10 per cent of the total data consumed at peak times. These tend to use smaller amounts of data than compared with video streaming, suggesting a very large number of people using them, Beder said.
By the 2030s, there will be nearly 23,000 households in the Silverdale-Dairy Flat area according to Auckland Council.
And with new subdivisions in Millwater, Red Beach, Silverdale North and the new Highgate Business Park all being developed, the growth needs to be supported with high-quality telecommunications infrastructure with lots of capacity and great speeds, Beder said.
“4.5G helps deliver this. It is the next big step in the evolution of mobile technology, and because it’s so new, the full capability of Spark’s network is actually being delivered ahead of the ability of most existing devices – future-proofing Silverdale for when the next generation of devices launch.
“On our first 4.5G site in Christchurch earlier this year, we reached around 1.2Gbps with specialised testing equipment, and as devices catch up, people can expect to experience similar kinds of speeds. But most people today with one of the latest phones will already be able to get between three and five times the speeds of regular 4G . We’ve had people with new phones get over 300mbps.”
The new towers also allow the service of more people from a single site, with around five times the capacity of a regular 4G tower.
“This means we can keep up with the population growth without slowing down during busy times, and people will be able to do more on the move – using mobile applications for business or just staying in touch with friends and family.
“It also means people have more options when it comes to getting wireless broadband at home.”
Over the longer term Spark will be rolling 4.5G out to many sites across the country, but it’s very early days with a new technology so at the moment it’s just Christchurch Central and Silverdale, Beder said.