Vodafone will switch on a 5G network in December, starting in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, the company announced today.
The announcement coincides with today’s completion of the sale of Vodafone New Zealand to Brookfield and Infratil.
Vodafone New Zealand CEO Jason Paris said that 5G is much more than the successor to 4G.
"It’s our most powerful tool yet, representing a transformational shift that will drive a digital revolution and make New Zealanders’ lives and businesses better, smarter and more productive," he said.
“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.
Paris said Vodafone's experience in launching 5G in other countries had 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 are the real early adopters.
“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," he said.
"It’s starting to benefit communities around the world and deliver social-good outcomes, for example through improved e-learning capabilities."
Vodafone was already working alongside a number of business partners to understand how the power of 5G could improve the lives of New Zealanders. The first four partners are NZ Police, BNZ, Auckland’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Waste Management.
"They have agreed to work with us and our partners Nokia, Microsoft, and IBM, to begin to scope their 5G future," Paris said.
Vodafone Technology Director, Tony Baird said the potential applications of 5G are exponential.
“5G takes New Zealand beyond mobile and will accelerate Vodafone New Zealand’s leadership position in IoT," he said.
"5G and IoT will enable hyper-connectivity between machines, smart devices and people.
"This means we’ll start seeing the development of innovative, intelligent processes and connected services that simply haven’t been possible or even conceivable until now."
5G was also ideally suited for delivering fixed wireless broadband, he said.
"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.”