Huawei wins NZ 4G contract

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Huawei wins NZ 4G contract

Telecom New Zealand has appointed Huawei to build its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network over long-standing technology partner Alcatel-Lucent. 

The telco has been running small-scale LTE trials nationwide with solutions from both Huawei and Alcatel-Lucent.

Telecom New Zealand chief technology officer David Havercroft said today the telco picked the Chinese supplier because of its extensive experience in building 4G networks.

Havercroft pointed to Huawei having built 73 LTE networks in 42 countries as one factor that tipped the scales, as well as technology extensions such as carrier or signal aggregation that in two trials provided peak speeds of 250 megabit per second.

Alcatel-Lucent built the existing WCDMA 3G XT network for Telecom NZ in 2009 to replace the incumbent's previous CDMA 1xRTT EV-DO network, following a similar move by Telstra in Australia.

Soon after launch,  XT experienced multiple long outages with Telecom NZ and Alcatel-Lucent forced to do urgent remedial work on the network. The relationship between the two was reportedly severely damaged by the fallout, and never properly recovered.

XT was later rebranded as the Smartphone Network.

A spokesperson for Alcatel-Lucent told iTnews that the Huawei deal "has little impact on our ongoing relationship with Telecom New Zealand.

"We may not have been selected to provide 4G services, however we remain Telecom's partner for their 3G network and will continue to run Telecom New Zealand's network operations centre, where we operate and maintain both their fixed and mobile networks."

Telecom NZ was pipped to the post on 4G by rival Vodafone, which launched commercial LTE services in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in February this year. 

Telecom NZ intends to go live in Auckland in October this year, rolling out LTE to half of its nationwide network in 2014, according to its retail arm chief executive Chris Quin.

It will launch services in the 1800MHz band initially, and may use 700MHz spectrum if it wins some in the upcoming digital dividend auction next year.

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