New Zealand’s telecommunication companies welcome the government’s 5G spectrum direct distribution plan

Telecommunication companies of New Zealand are supporting the government’s choice to cancel the 5G spectrum auction and to directly distribute it instead. 

Despite that, 2 degrees and Spark had different tones in their replies. The auction for a short duration, early access rights in the 3.5GHz band for 5G services has been called off owing to the limitations imposed by the virus outbreak. 

The government has rather decided on direct distribution, offering 40MHz to Dense Air and 60MHz to both 2 degrees and Spark respectively. 

Vodafone NZ already has access to the 5G spectrum directly or via deals with others. 

Jolie Hodson, Spark CEO said that the allocation allowed a major investment in 5G infrastructure throughout New Zealand over the forthcoming year, which will play a crucial role in the country’s reaction to and restoration from the issues created by the global pandemic. Hodson stated, “Over time 5G will fundamentally transform how we work, learn and connect as a country and act as a catalyst for innovation with emerging technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality and the internet of things.” 

Work done for Spark by NERA Economic Consulting evaluated that the launch of 5G in New Zealand could boost between $5.7 billion and $8.9 billion each year to the country’s economy over the coming 10 years. Hodson added, “Our recovery from Covid-19 is a long game, and it has never been more important to improve our productivity as a country and ensure we are well-positioned to adapt to new ways of working. And in a world where physical distancing will remain critical for some time, technologies that connect people virtually have a fundamental role to play in our economic recovery,” 

Ensuring the 3.5GHz spectrum was complex for the distribution of a full suite 5G services, so we would like to admit the government for help with allocation. Spark said it intended to shift on 5G sites in several major centers across the North and South islands of the country. 2 degrees had a contrary take, saying the announcement struck the proper balance in a world affected by the virus and highlighted on network planning and testing over direct launch.

Mark Aue, Chief executive of 2 degrees said the prime priority is to ensure that the customers continue to have access to dependable connectivity via New Zealand’s three competitors’ national 4G networks. He further added, “This will provide time for 5G uses cases to develop, and initial deployments, in advance of long term spectrum rights that will power national 5G services from late 2022.”


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