New Zealand operator 2degrees has switched on its 5G network in central Auckland and Wellington for testing and optimisation. The new 5G sites, which the company noted have been deployed ahead of the scheduled Q1 2022 commercial launch, are part of a rollout that will initially provide contiguous 5G coverage across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Announcing the network activation, 2degrees CTO Martin Sharrock commented: ‘The 2degrees team is gathering valuable data on network and device performance, upload and download speeds, latency and handovers. Early test results have demonstrated speeds over 1Gbps. Work has also begun in Christchurch with the first 5G sites due online for testing in December. Over the coming months the team will be rigourously testing 5G on numerous devices so when this new network and technology is launched for customers it will be fully optimised on a range of 5G enabled devices.’
2degrees’ approach to network design and build combines the upgrade of cell sites with new Ericsson 3G, 4G and 5G radio access network (RAN) equipment and the upgrade of the core network. The programme of work has been underway for over two years and builds on the NZD1 billion (USD682 million) already invested in the network.
The operator plans to launch its 5G network with up to 100 sites on air and expects to continue to activate additional BTS throughout 2022 as it builds out the network across the country’s main cities. The company notes these network upgrades will also result in significantly increased 4G capability, with average LTE capacity set to double.