New Zealand mobile operator 2degrees said its 5G network has been switched on in central Auckland and Wellington for testing and optimization.
In a release, the telco said that this initial trial will pave the way for the commercial launch scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.
2degree noted that the network will initially provide contiguous 5G coverage across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
“5G has now been enabled for test and optimization purposes in Auckland and Wellington. 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,” said 2degrees CTO Martin Sharrock.
“Over the coming months the team will be rigorously testing 5G on numerous devices so when this new network and technology is launched for customers it will be fully optimized on a range of 5G enabled devices. We’re thrilled with the early test results and can’t wait to complete our optimization work and officially launch the 5G network to our customers,” the executive added.
2degrees also noted that the firm’s strategic approach to network design and build, combines upgrading cell sites with new Ericsson 3G, 4G, and 5G radio access network (RAN) equipment with upgrading the core network.
Sharrock said that the telco will initially launch its 5G network with up to 100 sites across the country. “We’ll continue to turn on additional sites throughout 2022 as we build out the network across our main cities. One of the many benefits to mobile customers will be the creation of a contiguous 5G experience in areas where there is highest demand and uptake,” he said. “As the network build radiates out from the city centres in a planned manner, over time, customers will experience continual 5G connectivity as they move across the city.”
In April of 2021, 2degrees announced a partnership with Ericsson to launch a 5G network in the country.
In September, Nokia announced that it has been selected by New Zealand operator Spark to support its 5G rollout, which will provide 5G coverage to approximately 90% of the population by the end of 2023.
Under the terms of the deal, Spark will deploy Nokia’s latest 5G RAN technology across a large part of the rollout, while simultaneously upgrading 4G at these sites using Nokia products.
In March, Spark and Korean vendor Samsung Electronics had launched 5G infrastructure in the city of Christchurch, the most populous city in South Island of New Zealand. The two companies have been working together on 5G trials since 2019.
Meanwhile, Vodafone New Zealand had launched commercial 5G services in parts of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown in 2019. The telco currently provides 5G in parts of Auckland, Tauranga, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.