Spark has announced it will deploy 5G wireless broadband in five more South Island locations before Christmas, followed by further heartland communities from March 2020. A broader range of 5G services, covering both mobile as well as wireless broadband, will be launched in major centres from mid-2020, subject to spectrum being made available by the government. This builds on Spark’s announcement in September that it had switched on the first 5G customer services in New Zealand, with the launch of 5G wireless broadband in Alexandra. Spark’s fixed-wireless service uses 2.6GHz spectrum and the company is waiting for the government to allocate 3.5GHz frequencies in 2020 before launching full 5G mobile services.
In line with its previously-stated multi-vendor strategy, Spark said its preferred RAN equipment suppliers for 5G are Nokia, Samsung and Huawei. In addition, Spark will continue to use Cisco and Ericsson for separate elements of its existing network core, which was already upgraded to ensure it is Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G capable.