Vodafone New Zealand has become the first operator to launch 5G mobile services in the country, after switching on its network in parts of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown. The Vodafone team will continue to build the network over the coming years, adding Nokia 5G technology to more than 1,500 existing cell sites around the country – up from the initial 100 cell sites that are now live. Subscribers will be able to use the upgraded network at no additional cost until the end of June 2020, when a NZD10 (USD6.6) monthly surcharge will be introduced.
Vodafone is using its existing 58MHz block of 3.5GHz spectrum to launch 5G and claims this is sufficient to provide customers with speeds up to ten times faster than their current 4G services. However, in order to achieve gigabit speeds, the company believes it will need around 100MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum. Vodafone will also continue to develop its 5G fixed broadband offering, following a recent trial conducted at Wellington Airport.
Jason Paris, Vodafone New Zealand CEO, said: ‘Our team has been working hard to light up Aotearoa with a remarkable new 5G mobile network, along with awesome new smartphones in time for Christmas. This is just the beginning of a new technology era for New Zealand.’