Vodafone New Zealand will launch 5G in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown in late 2019
Nokia will supply and integrate a 5G network for Vodafone New Zealand, the country’s largest telecommunications company. The launch will include the Nokia AirScale radio access solution, as well as cloud-native core and design services, and will take place in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown in late 2019.
Tommi Uitto, Nokia’s President of Mobile Networks commented that the agreement “will enable Vodafone New Zealand to deliver 5G services to their customers and create an even more connected society.”
During 5G trials in Auckland over a year ago, the two companies showcased a 5G connection at Vodafone NZ’s Innov8 Auckland headquarters across the mmWave spectrum band. Vodafone NZ’s CEO at the time, Russell Stanners said the purpose of the trials was to demonstrate how it was possible to easily “evolve [their]existing 4G and 4G+ networks to 5G.” Nokia provided its AirScale and Airframe platforms for the 5G trial.
It preparation for the 5G launch, Vodafone NZ worked with Ciena at the end of last year to upgrade its mobile network to enable support across 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and ultra high-definition video.
Vodafone NZ’s new CEO Jason Paris has commented that the recent acquisition of Vodafone NZ by New Zealand-based infrastructure investment company Infratil and Canada-headquartered Brookfield Asset Management marked “a new era” for the company.
For Paris, who officially took over the company earlier this month, 5G is a critical component of that new era, and the December 2019 5G network launch with Nokia will put it at least six months ahead of Spark, the second largest telco in New Zealand, which has previously said it will roll out its 5G network in mid 2020.
Vodafone already owns spectrum in the 3.5GHz band which could be used for the company’s 5G commercial offering. According to Paris, Vodafone NZ and Nokia’s 5G roll out will bring “a transformational shift that will drive a digital revolution and make New Zealanders’ lives and businesses better, smarter and more productive.”
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