Spark has announced the launch of 5G in Palmerston North, with four more locations to follow before the end of 2020.
The telecommunications company said the city is the first location in New Zealand to have access to 5G on both mobile and wireless broadband.
Spark's 5G rollout is now proceeding with pace, following the Government's recent allocation of 5G C-band spectrum. The national rollout of the next generation of mobile technology is predicted to add between $5.7 billion and $8.9 billion per year to the New Zealand economy over the next 10 years including $135 million to the local Palmerston North economy.
Spark CEO Jolie Hodson said this was a major milestone in what will be a long-term and significant investment in 5G infrastructure across the country, which will play a critical role in improving New Zealand's productivity and supporting the country's economic recovery from COVID-19.
"We believe in the potential of 5G technology to solve some of our country's greatest challenges and never has this been more critical as we adapt to new ways of working, learning and connecting as a country," she says.
"We have already seen first-hand how businesses have used technology to innovate and adapt to our new normal. Teachers took their lessons online; global sporting events went virtual and supermarkets created the ability to manage social distancing with online queues. As a nation of innovators, imagine what could be achieved, what solutions these businesses could create to move our country forward with the power of 5G," Hodson explains.
Palmerston North City Council chief customer officer, Chris Dyhrberg, said it was great to see investment in critical infrastructure in Palmerston North, which will be an important enabler of local businesses and connectivity for all residents.
"5G is a critical step forward not only for New Zealand, but also for our hometown of Palmerston North. Our aspiration is to be a city that drives and supports innovation and entrepreneurship and 5G is an enabler of this providing significantly faster speeds and considerably more capacity than previous generations of mobile technology," he says.
"The 5G roll out in Palmerston North is a perfect example of how we provide and support smart technology that further cements Palmerston North as a smart city now and into the future."
Palmerston North residents who are Spark customers and have a 5G enabled mobile phone will have free access to 5G speeds no matter what plan they are on until at least July 2021. Those who want to experience 5G speeds at home can sign up for Spark's Discover 5G Wireless Broadband Plan.