Vodafone NZ to switch on 5G network in December

1 Aug 2019

Vodafone NZ has announced it will switch on its 5G network in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown in December. The launch announcement coincided with the completion of the telco’s NZD3.4 billion (USD2.3 billion) sale to local infrastructure investment firm Infratil and Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management.

Vodafone revealed that more than 100 cell sites will be upgraded to 5G by December, while another 20 ‘cells sites on wheels’ will also be deployed and around 400 sites will be enhanced to provide so-called 4.9G. The operator also announced it was working with the country’s police service, BNZ bank, Auckland’s Rescue helicopter and Waste Management to explore potential 5G applications in partnership with Nokia, Microsoft and IBM.

‘I’m thrilled to announce we will be bringing genuine 5G to New Zealanders later this year, building on our proud heritage of being first to deliver the best technology from around the world to Kiwis including 2G, 3G, and 4G,’ commented Vodafone NZ CEO Jason Paris, adding: ‘This announcement demonstrates Infratil and Brookfield’s commitment to invest in New Zealand’s future, and is the first of many initiatives that will show that we are 100% focussed on delivering world class experiences for all Vodafone customers and for New Zealand.’

The operator used Nokia millimetre-wave equipment for 28GHz at the launch event, with the 4G component providing the underlying service and 5G through the New Radio non-standalone feature. The 5G service is based on 3GPP’s Release 15 standard and will operate in the 3.5GHz band.