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Kiwi telco Two Degrees to roll out 4G in 2014

BNZ backs Huawei kit buy

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Junior New Zealand telco Two Degrees Mobile is getting ready to roll out 4G, with deployment to start in 2014.

The decision to launch into the 4G market follows confirmation of a funding facility from the Bank of New Zealand, worth $NA165 million. Chinese vendor Huawei, which built its current 3G network.

The BNZ funding will also allow Two Degrees to clear $NZ31.2 million of vendor finance from Huawei.

Two Degrees holds around 21 percent of the New Zealand mobile market, and is lagging its larger rivals. Vodafone kicked off its first 4G services in May 2013, and Telecom New Zealand is due to start its deployment in October (also using Huawei kit).

The arrangement with BNZ also also seen as a vote of confidence in the company's new management, since the death of CEO Eric Hertz, along with his wife, in a light plane crash in March 2013. Chairman Stewart Sherriff is currently acting CEO.

“Having been cash-flow positive for almost a year, 2degrees is able to fund its own operations without shareholder funding,” Sherriff said in a statement. “Bank finance will accelerate the business.”

The carrier was founded in the late 1990s when a group of Maori successfully asserted their rights over mobile spectrum under New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi. ®

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