Spark New Zealand has added a third Evolved Packet Core node to its mobile network. It says this will enable more capacity and greater resilience.

The new EPC node is in Porirua. Spark says it complements those already in Auckland and Christchurch. The new node will also give the company flexibility to shift and reroute traffic, something that would be especially useful in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency.

It will also help as the company rolls out 4.5G services and expands its fixed wireless broadband capacity.

A huge amount of data already passes through Spark’s mobile network. It says customers used 34 Petabytes — 34 million Gigabytes — in the first eight months of 2017. This compares to 6.9 Petabytes in the same period a year earlier. Meanwhile, Chorus' fixed broadband network saw 1,390 Petabytes - 1.39 billion Gigabytes - in the same time period.

Colin Brown, Spark Networks general manager, say the company is seeing more people stay on its network for longer and download more data. He says: “The installation of this third node is important because our customers expect an ‘always on’ service”.

Spark has been pushing mobile technology upgrades harder than its rivals in recent months. It talks often about its plans to move to 5G and already has LTE-Advanced 4.5G services at a number of sites. It plans to roll out another 30 or so over the next year.