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Vodafone NZ to launch 5G services by December

By Sara Barker
Thu 1 Aug 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Vodafone has been officially sold, and 5G is coming as soon as December this year. That double-barrelled announcement came directly from Vodafone New Zealand CEO Jason Paris today, signalling a major shift in new Zealand’s telecommunications landscape.

Brookfield Asset Management and Infratil paid NZ$3.4 billion for Vodafone New Zealand, a deal that has been called one of the biggest New Zealand M&A transactions on record.

What’s more, Vodafone announced that it would roll out 5G from December in four New Zealand cities: Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown.

“I’m thrilled to announce we will be bringing genuine 5G to New Zealanders later this year, building on our proud heritage of being first to deliver the best technology from around the world to Kiwis including 2G, 3G, and 4G,” says Paris.

“For Vodafone New Zealand customers, 5G is not a someday technology. This is their future – now.  When we switch on a global standards-based 5G network for New Zealand in December it will mark the next chapter of our journey to transform Vodafone New Zealand and help unlock innovations that will enable all New Zealanders to live better, safer, healthier and more connected lives.”

He believes that 5G will drive a digital revolution that will make businesses more productive, and individuals’ lives better.

“The decision to bring 5G to New Zealand now is to help ensure New Zealand businesses can maintain their competitiveness in an increasingly connected world. The experience of Vodafone in launching 5G in other countries has shown that consumer applications such as gaming, wearables, and smart home technologies definitely benefit from 5G’s higher-speed and lower latency, however it is innovative businesses and public organisations who are the real early adopters,” Paris explains.

To be eligible for 5G customers will need a 5G capable device, a 5G enabled plan and be in a 5G connected area. 5G will also be able to deliver more than 10 times faster speeds than 4G typically delivers today.

Vodafone has also announced four partners for its 5G initiatives. They are Auckland’s Rescue Helicopter, BNZ, the New Zealand Police, and Waste Management. The partners will work with Vodafone, Nokia, Microsoft, and IBM to plan their 5G future.

“5G is starting to shape the future of every sector. In health with connected ambulances and remote surgery, in manufacturing with automated factories and in utilities with smart waste management or intelligent electricity networks. It’s starting to benefit communities around the world and deliver social-good outcomes, for example through improved e-learning capabilities. We want all businesses and organisations to see what 5G can do for them,” says Paris.

According to Vodafone technology director Tony Baird, 5G’s potential applications are ‘exponential’. 

“5G is also ideally suited for delivering fixed wireless broadband. This will be a great broadband solution for many more New Zealand customers than was previously possible, and will complement our ongoing investment in 4G, IoT and fixed network technologies.”

Vodafone will be communicating with our mobile customers about how to access 5G enabled plans for no additional charge.  In the future the company plans to charge a premium for 5G.

Paris adds, “This announcement demonstrates Infratil and Brookfield’s commitment to invest in New Zealand’s future, and is the first of many initiatives that will show that we are 100% focussed on delivering world class experiences for all Vodafone customers and for New Zealand.”

“We also have an announcement on service leadership coming soon that will make a significant difference to the delivery of more consistent customer service for everyone. We know we aren’t where we need to be on this, so watch this space.”

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