New Zealand operator Spark has kicked off its 5G Standalone (5G SA) network build with technology vendors Ericsson and Red Hat, promising the deployment of a 5G core will be ‘the turning point for unlocking the transformative capabilities the technology can bring’. The announcement follows the successful completion of a three-month 5G SA trial in 2022, comprising Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core running on Red Hat OpenShift and integrated with Spark’s 5G Fixed Wireless Access Network (FWA) to test enhanced wireless broadband.

Claiming the company was the first telco and digital services provider in New Zealand to commence its 5G SA network build, Renne Mateparae, Spark’s network and operations director, explained that deployment of the 5G core will unlock capabilities such as network slicing and multi access edge computing, enabling support for applications that require real-time and ultra-reliable performance. ‘In addition to our investment in C-band mobile spectrum, we are committing NZD40 million (USD25.4 million) to NZD60 million to the development of a 5G SA network over the next three years, which will create a step change enabling business innovation in Aotearoa,’ she added.

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