28 Feb 2013
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Gee, forget the set top box, Vodafone’s all about 4G

If I was a betting man, which I am, I would have lost a considerable amount of money this morning betting on Vodafone’s launch, turns out I did.

After months, ahh let’s get dramatic, years of speculation, Vodafone finally announced its move into the world of 4G this morning.

Live from company HQ in Auckland, the ten-minute press delay only added to the ongoing excitement, albeit snuffed out when CEO Russell Stanners said everything we already knew.

“We hope this to be a very special day for Vodafone, our customers and the industry,” he said, as I held my TAB betting slip frantically.

Come on set top box, come on set top box.

“This is not a trial it is a commercial launch, 4G is live in New Zealand.”

Aaaah sh*t.

Jokes aside however, Vodafone’s adoption of the world’s fastest mobile network technology is a huge move for the Kiwi industry, marking a new era in super-duper fast access to content and information on the go.

Working ten times faster than standard 3G, which now seems pretty slow in comparison, 4G is live for Vodafone customers in parts of Auckland, with the service expanding to more suburbs by the week.

Not forgetting the rest of New Zealand of course, 4G will be live in parts of Christchurch in May, and parts of Wellington in August/September.

So just how good is it?

“For many people, their smartphone has become one of the few items that they can’t leave home without,” Stanners said. "4G is the network that the best smartphones were made for, meaning you can access all the information and entertainment you want in real time – and connect faster than ever before.”

But as with anything, the proof is always in the pudding. And the pudding is delicious.

Kiwis can now download a novel, a damn novel, in less than a second, stream a 30-minute TV show in less than 5 seconds and download an album in less than 3 seconds.

The business aspect of the service is covered also, offering a “near seamless connection to the cloud” - allowing businesses to upload and download attachments in seconds, and load web pages instantly.

“Social media is changing how people use the internet,” Stanners said. “And what social media is to the consumer, cloud computing is to business.”

Responding to questions in the room, Stanners was bold in his assessment of Vodafone’s future plans:

“Everything that can be connected; will be connected,” he said.

“We want customers to feel safe, secure and in full control when using the internet.”

Given I’m now broke after handing all my hard-earned* wages to TAB, talk of price comparisons to 3G data plans have now become intriguing. And here it is from the horse’s mouth:

“Customers can take existing price structures such as our $30 data plan and take advantage of a $10 add-on fee for 4G,” Stanners said. “Subsequently as you move up the price range 4G will be included as part of our $120 package.”

With now over 65,000 customers through out the country currently 4G capable, you know who you are, Stammers said 4G would be available via a software upgrade or download.

The 4G network will also be supported by manufacturers including Apple, HTC and Samsung.

For more information regarding price plans, click here

*Not hard-earned.

Will you be getting 4G? What does this mean for Telecom? Do they need to catch up and quick? Tell us your thoughts below

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