New Zealand telco Spark has launched 5G in Palmerston North and promised four more locations will be added before the end of the year. The operator, which launched 5G fixed-wireless broadband services in a select few towns on the country’s South Island in 2019, claimed in a press release that the deployment means the region is the first in the country to have access to both 5G mobile and wireless broadband services. The rollout has been made possible by the government’s recent allocation of 3.5GHz spectrum, announced in May, after the COVID-19 crisis forced the cancellation of a planned 5G auction.
Subscribers with a compatible handset will have free access to 5G services under their existing plans until at least July 2021, while customers can also sign up to the company’s ‘Discover 5G Wireless Broadband’ Plan. Spark also reports it has already started working with Toyota New Zealand to tap 5G’s potential, enabling the car company to explore innovative customer experience such as immersive virtual reality test drives using 360-degree live stream cameras.