Spark turns on 5G trial; MBIE seeks input on 5G spectrum

Speeds over 9Gbps hit during test

Spark has turned on what it says is New Zealand’s first live 5G mobile test site, outside the Beehive using spectrum made available temporarily by MBIE.

“Minister of broadcasting, communications and digital media Hon Clare Curran [became] the first member of the public to run a 5G speed test achieving speeds of over 9Gbps,” Spark said.

The move co-incided with release by the Government of a discussion document Preparing for 5G in New Zealand. The document said its aim was “to canvas industry’s views on the key issues and actions by government required to support the roll out of 5G technology … [and] to better understand the preferred spectrum configuration and optimal timing for spectrum release for 5G services, including providing for early technical and pre-commercial testing of 5G services in New Zealand.”

Spark said the trial, at its Stout Street exchange building, used specialist equipment and technical support from technology partner Huawei and would test speeds, coverage and the parameters of the spectrum in a real-world environment.

“The trial will be live throughout the month of March and connects with equipment in a specialised vehicle drive-testing the streets of Wellington CBD,” it said.

“Testing is being executed as device and equipment manufacturers work towards delivering 5G capable devices in market by late 2018.”

Spark managing director Simon Moutter said Spark intended to be at the forefront of deploying 5G in New Zealand once the required spectrum had been made available.

“We want to be ahead of the pack in preparing for it, testing it, in deploying it, and we want to be the partner of choice for all of those New Zealand businesses who are starting to think about its uses in their industry,” he said.

“We’ve fast-tracked our plans and are committed to creating a 5G Lab in Auckland later this year, where customers can work with us to truly understand how 5G will change their lives and businesses.”

Read more: Spark sells 50 percent share in Connect 8 to Electra


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