IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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2degrees goes live with its 5G network
Wed, 1st Dec 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Ahead of the scheduled Q1 2022 customer launch, the 2degrees 5G network has been switched on in central Auckland and Wellington for testing and optimisation.

As part of a rollout that will see contiguous 5G coverage across Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch initially, the telecommunications company says the network is "humming at speeds that will shake up the market "and new sites are coming on-line every week.

“5G has now been enabled for test and optimisation purposes in Auckland and Wellington. The 2degrees team is gathering valuable data on network and device performance, upload and download speeds, latency and handovers," says 2degrees chief technology officer Martin Sharrock.

"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," he says.

“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 optimised on a range of 5G enabled devices," says Sharrock.

"We are thrilled with the early test results and can't wait to complete our optimisation work and officially launch the 5G network to our customers," he says.

“Kiwis have come to expect immediate access to data and faster download times for business purposes as well as streaming and gaming. The timing of our network upgrade and 5G launch meets the growing demand from customers for greater connectivity and speed."

2degrees' strategic approach to network design and build, combines upgrading cell sites with brand new Ericsson 3G, 4G, and 5G radio access network (RAN) equipment with upgrading the core network. This programme of work has been underway for over two years and builds on the $1 billion already spent on the network.

“Our driving goal has been to ensure an enhanced network experience for Kiwis no matter whether they are using our 3G, 4G or 5G network, or moving across networks as they travel the length and breadth of Aotearoa," Sharrock says.

“We expect to launch the 2degrees 5G network with up to 100 sites on air, and we'll continue to turn on additional sites throughout 2022 as we build out the network across our main cities," he says.

"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. 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."

Sharrock adds, “In addition, as we continue to evolve our mobile network and add 5G capability, Kiwis will also reap the benefit of significantly increased 4G capability.

"4G capacity will on average double after the network upgrades in these areas,” he says.

More than 100 network, IT, and civil engineers, technicians, testers, and project managers have been part of the largest technology upgrade undertaken since 2degrees launched in 2009.

"It's projects like these, which are essential for keeping Kiwis connected, that truly demonstrate what is achievable during challenging times," Sharrock says.

"The 2degrees team has worked within strict COVID-19 guidelines, faced delays due to bad weather and travel restrictions and solved technical challenges with creativity and innovative thinking to upgrade an award-winning network with new, world-leading mobile technology for Kiwis."