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# 257324 26-Sep-2019 06:03
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Just received:


Spark has switched on 5G customer services for the first time in New Zealand with a limited number of business and consumer customers in Alexandra, Central Otago, invited to experience high-speed wireless broadband delivered by 5G.

The move to switch on 5G comes as Spark completes its biggest-ever upgrade across its wireless network, with capacity enhanced by approximately 80 percent over the past two years. This includes new cell sites and the extensive rollout of 4.5G, which significantly enhances network performance and capacity relative to conventional 4G.

Mark Beder, Spark’s Technology Director, said that Alexandra is the beginning of Spark’s regional roll out of 5G with a plan to bring 5G wireless broadband services to another five heartland New Zealand towns before Christmas 2019, then other locations early next year. Access to these 5G services will initially be by invitation only.

“For over a year we’ve been working hard to prepare for 5G, including adding over 150 new mobile sites and extensively upgrading our existing network to 4.5G, to take advantage of the more efficient use of spectrum and greater capacity that 4.5G provides. We’ve now reached the point where invited customers can start experiencing some of the real benefits of 5G,” said Mr Beder.

“We believe that the first meaningful use-case for 5G will be increasing the capacity and speed of wireless broadband offerings. So we chose Alexandra to start 5G services as it has one of the highest uptake rates in the country for Spark’s existing wireless broadband product. Spark continues to see 50 percent year on year data growth on its network, so the improved data efficiency offered by 5G – through better use of available spectrum – is compelling.

“We believe that 5G will evolve to use multiple bands of spectrum, so we’re optimising our current spectrum assets and working on the latest technology advancements to make best use of the spectrum we currently have. Over the next six months, we will roll out a mixture of 5G and further improvements to our 4G network in major centres,” Beder said.

“Initial testing in Alexandra has shown speeds for 5G wireless broadband of five to 10 times faster than for 4G wireless broadband in the same location.”

In Alexandra, Spark 5G is live in the offices of Xerra Earth Observation Institute. Xerra uses data from satellites orbiting the earth to build identification, monitoring and reporting tools that provide insights to industry, business and government.

Steve Cotter, CEO of Xerra said that 5G is a game changer.

“One of our biggest challenges to grow as a regional startup has been, since day one, poor connectivity. We work with large data sets and it used to take us up to four hours to download one image. Now, with 5G, we can do it in a matter of minutes,” Mr Cotter said.

“This is the kind of connectivity required to run a world-class science research institute in regional New Zealand. For us, it means people can enjoy a Central Otago lifestyle, but also pursue a rewarding data-intensive scientific career. And it’s a key to growing greater prosperity in the regions.”

Sanchia Jacobs, Chief Executive of Central Otago District Council said it’s a great opportunity for Alexandra to experience 5G.

“It is a technological leap forward that will reset the boundaries of just what can be done and enable new businesses to establish here. Most importantly, it takes us a step closer to those people who can work from any location in the world to choose to work in Central Otago. The Council is looking forward to working with Spark to offer the community the opportunity to try this new technology by installing a 5G modem at the Alexandra Library.”

A further three customers are also now enjoying 5G connectivity.

Spark’s 5G network in Alexandra is using spectrum from the 2600MHz band, a band currently used in other parts of the country for 4G.

“We’ve used our own 2600 MHz spectrum allocation and have worked with Dense Air, a large 2600 MHz spectrum holder in New Zealand to enable us to deploy 5G services. 5G has already launched in this band in the USA, and will be a major 5G band in Asia. This has allowed us to set up a 5G network for a limited number of customers in Alexandra with more locations to come. We will continue to deliver 4G services to Alexandra, but over our other spectrum bands,” Beder said.

“We’re pleased to be able to deliver 5G over the 2600 MHz spectrum in Alexandra as it is a great way to demonstrate the possibilities, but our preference will always be C band (3500 MHz) as we believe this will be the primary spectrum band for mass deployment of 5G. Acquiring enough C band spectrum is an important requirement for all wireless network operators.”

Paul Senior, CEO of Dense Air said they are pleased to be working with Spark to enable 2600 MHz 5G services in New Zealand. Dense Air is a new class of operator providing a solution that extends and enhances other wireless operators’ networks in both rural and urban centres through the use of Dense Air’s own spectrum.

“We are very pleased to be working with Spark on the launch of 5G services in New Zealand. The deployment in Alexandra is a template for the deployment of next generation 5G based broadband services into regions around New Zealand.”

The Spark 5G network in Alexandra uses the latest Nokia 5G radio equipment including a smart antenna system, which will provide optimised capacity and coverage compared to 4G.




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Master Geek

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  # 2324959 26-Sep-2019 06:10
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Game changer (rolls eyes)




Matt East

 

 


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  # 2324961 26-Sep-2019 06:13
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Hopefully they roll this out to arrowtown - they're not taking on any more wireless broadband customers there.

 
 
 
 


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  # 2324962 26-Sep-2019 06:20
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Wow using Nokia kit

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  # 2324993 26-Sep-2019 08:15
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MattEast: Game changer (rolls eyes)

 

 

 

It is going to be great !!

 

 

 

The Vodafone 5G doctor can remotely operate on the dog run over by Sparks self driving 5G car.... :)


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  # 2324994 26-Sep-2019 08:19
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Other than clipping the ticket, what actual value does this Denseair company add to the offering?

Or is it because they have bought the rights to use 2600mhz while 3500mhz is still to be auctioned?

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  # 2325092 26-Sep-2019 09:51
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Dense Air owns 70MHz of spectrum in the 2.5GHz band that Spark needs. So looks like just clipping the ticket... I think spark has about 20MHz of paired spectrum in the 2.5GHz range.

 

Maybe Spark might reserve the 2.5Ghz spectrum for 5G fixed wireless and use 5G 3.5GHz spectrum (when it gets enough) for mobile 5G services?

 

 

 

insane: Other than clipping the ticket, what actual value does this Denseair company add to the offering?
r
Or is it because they have bought the rights to use 2600mhz while 3500mhz is still to be auctioned?


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  # 2325158 26-Sep-2019 11:37
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"The Council is looking forward to working with Spark to offer the community the opportunity to try this new technology by installing a 5G modem at the Alexandra Library.”

 

really...

 

Why not just connect the library to fibre??, a check on Chorus' BB checker shows UFB is just outside and live...

 

I'm expecting to see a bunch of 5G ads in the next few months with central Otago scenery and people using lots of data in remote locations, saying its a game changer and amazingly fast...

 

plus ca change....


 
 
 
 


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  # 2325222 26-Sep-2019 12:53
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good summary from Bill Bennett...

 

 

 

https://billbennett.co.nz/dense-air/

 

 

 

 


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  # 2325304 26-Sep-2019 13:31
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Here's another article, this time from OZ, on their operations over there, which seem to be in a similar vein to those in NZ..

 

https://www.computerworld.com.au/article/650822/dense-air-5g-infrastructure-deliver-coverage-infill-private-networks/

 

 


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  # 2327247 30-Sep-2019 18:24
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Linux: Wow using Nokia kit

 

That is what jumped out at me - have Spark decided to throw in the towel because the delay and the fight required to be able to use Huawei equipment isn't worth the drama? it makes for interesting discussion to see whether it is a once off interim measure or whether there is a long term plan to use Nokia equipment with a gradual replacement of their existing equipment with a SingleRAN from Nokia which doesn't carry the political baggage that using a Chinese based supplier would.





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  # 2327271 30-Sep-2019 19:04
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They talk up the big upgrades to their mobile network yet the mobile plans don’t reflect this


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  # 2327311 30-Sep-2019 21:11
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DjShadow:

 

They talk up the big upgrades to their mobile network yet the mobile plans don’t reflect this

 

Makes me wonder that too - maybe the existence of Skinny Mobile is allowed them to sit back and not have to worry about updating their mobile plans to keep up with the competition.





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