Vodafone to roll out 5G network in NZ by end of year, promises 'transformational shift'

Source: 1News

Vodafone today announced it’ll have 5G running in New Zealand in December, starting in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

The new owners will continue to use the Vodafone brand.

5G is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually replace, or at least augment, consumers' 4G connection - providing faster, better connection.

The tech company held live 5G holographic demonstrations in Auckland as part of the announcement today.

Chief executive Jason Paris made the announcement to coincide with the sale of Vodafone New Zealand to Brookfield and Infratil . It also follows recent rollouts of 5G in the UK, Italy, Spain and Germany.

"I'm so thrilled to announce we'll be bringing genuine 5G to New Zealanders later this year, building on our proud heritage of being the first to deliver the best technology from around the world to Kiwis, including 2G, 3G and 4G," Mr Paris said.

"5G is so much more than the successor to 4G," he added. "It's our most powerful tool yet."

Mr Paris said the decision to roll out the network was to help ensure New Zealand businesses could maintain competitiveness in an increasingly more connected world.

The network would represent a transformational shift that will drive digital revolution, making "New Zealander's lives and businesses better, smarter and more productive".

"5G is starting to shape the future in every sector," Mr Paris said. "In health with connected ambulances and remote surgery, in manufacturing with automated factories and in utilities with smart waste management or intelligent electricity networks."

Vodafone technology director Tony Baird said, "for Vodafone New Zealand customers, 5G is not a someday technology. This is their future now."

He also said there was a lot more to come from the team to help "unlock innovations that will enable all New Zealanders to live better, safer, healthier and more connected lives".

Vodafone is partnering with New Zealand Police, BNZ, Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Waste Management, who have agreed to work with existing partners Nokia, Microsoft and IBM.

Vodafone trumped competitor Spark, which announced one year ago that it would rollout 5G mobile and wireless broadband to customers by 2020.

Most wireless data is currently delivered via the 4G network, but Spark said that once 5G and suitable radio spectrums are available they will switch from expanded 4G to implementing 5G.

More data can be delivered for less money over the 5G network, and speeds as high as 1000 times the current 4G rates will be available for similar costs, Spark officials said at the time.

However, the telco giant ran into challenges when the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB)  declined Spark's proposal to use Huawei 5G equipment in its network.

A release from the GCSB in November said the decision was made after "a significant network security risk was identified" with the Chinese-owned telco.