Following a series of tests and optimisation demonstrations in recent months, New Zealand operator 2degrees has announced the official launch of its 5G network in central areas of Auckland and Wellington, and limited areas of Christchurch. The company notes the 5G network, which has been rolled out in partnership with Ericsson, is being built in a contiguous manner, with more suburbs in these three cities coming online week-by-week as 2022 continues.

Only customers in these coverage areas using a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 or Flip 3, or an Oppo Find X3 Pro can currently connect to the 2degrees 5G network, although the operator plans to enable further Samsung, Oppo and Apple mobile devices ‘soon’, along with a wireless plug-and-play broadband modem.

‘We’ve spent in excess of NZD1 billion (USD673.8 million) on our network, including our ongoing plan to replace every single site in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with brand-new cutting-edge equipment from Ericsson. We are designing and building a world class 5G network for the future, but also enhancing out 4G network alongside it,’ 2degrees chief technology officer Martin Sharrock said in a press release. ‘The innovative equipment and software we are using will allow us to flexibly change how the network uses 4G and 5G technology together over time. As 5G devices and services mature we can tune the network to how Kiwis want to use it,’ he added.

Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, commented: ‘Our team has been working closely with 2degrees to bring Ericsson’s world-leading technology to New Zealand. Kiwis are ready to harness the power of enhanced, reliable connectivity that 5G technology brings, and combined with the upgrade to the existing 3G and 4G radio access network (RAN) technology, 2degrees customers across New Zealand can benefit from Ericsson’s best-in-class, energy-efficient infrastructure.’

2degree’s 5G activation comes some two years after its rivals Vodafone New Zealand and Spark launched their own 5G networks in late 2019.

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