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Expanding mobile network connects locals north of Chch

MEDIA RELEASE

20 May 2014

Telecom’s expanding mobile network connects locals in areas north of Christchurch

From today locals and visitors to Ohoka, Swannanoa and North Kaiapoi will notice an improvement in mobile coverage, with Telecom announcing that it has invested more than $750,000 on improving its infrastructure in the North Canterbury areas.

Telecom’s investment includes a new mobile site in North Kaiapoi, and co-location on the Ohoka and Swannanoa Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI) sites. This is in response to the areas’ increasing population and corresponding demand for mobile coverage.

The new mobile sites will give locals and visitors better quality voice, mobile broadband and text services over the Telecom mobile network, which has been built specifically for smart phones. The improved mobile coverage is part of Telecom's commitment to open up access to mobile data and applications to rural communities.

Conor Roberts, Head of Public Affairs for Telecom says, “We want to ensure growing New Zealand communities like Kaiapoi and Swannanoa can make the most of mobile services. Fast broadband and mobile services are crucial for the success of businesses, education, health providers, and in bringing communities together,”

In this financial year alone Telecom is investing more than $10 million to co-locate on every one of the Government’s Rural Broadband Initiative sites where it doesn’t already have coverage. This is in addition to its ongoing programme of new mobile site builds and upgrades to improve coverage and capacity.

“To-date the network economics of bringing faster mobile services to heartland New Zealand have been challenging, but the reallocation of the 700MHz spectrum will speed up the roll-out of these essential services significantly.”

Telecom is currently trialling the 700MHz spectrum in the Waikato, which means it can hit the ground running once the spectrum auction process has concluded - speeding up the delivery of Telecom’s 4G mobile network beyond the major metropolitan centres. The 700MHz spectrum delivers greater reach compared to other frequencies, making it more efficient to build and ideally suited for delivering 4G services in regional areas.

More information about the Telecom Mobile Network and mobile coverage, is at www.telecom.co.nz/coverage.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Telecom has participated in a Government auction of the 700MHz spectrum vacated by analogue TV. In the first round of the auction, announced on 30 October 2013, Telecom and Vodafone each successfully bid for 2x15 MHz (three lots), while 2Degrees successfully bid for 2x10 MHz (two lots) leaving a single 2x5 MHz lot unsold from the available nine lots. In January 2014, Telecom was the successful bidder in the auction of the final 2x5 MHz lot. This fourth lot will provide significant benefits to customers in terms of the potential speed and capacity of Telecom’s 4G mobile network.

The purchase of a fourth 2x5 MHz lot is conditional upon approval from the Commerce Commission. They have indicated a decision will be made at the end of May 2014. Following that decision, there will be a process to determine the positioning of each purchase lot within the spectrum.

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