26 Sep 2019

Spark to offer 5G wireless broadband to some regional towns

5:28 am on 26 September 2019

Spark is to start offering super-fast 5G mobile connections in a handful of regional towns by the end of the year.

Spark New Zealand

Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The telecommunications and digital services company said the first to get Spark's 5G will be a limited number of consumers and businesses in Alexandra.

The rollout will bne extended to more "heartland" towns in the new year.

"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," said Spark technology director Mark Beder.

Spark is playing catch up to its main competitior, Vodafone, which plans to rollout 5G to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown by the end of the year.

Vodafone is using high frequency spectrum it already owns, which Spark does not have.

Mr Beder said Spark is repurposing some spectrum currently being used for 4G services as well as picking up adjacent spectrum from another company.

"We're pleased to be able to deliver 5G ... in Alexandra as it is a great way to demonstrate the possibilities."

The government is expected to auction off the relevant spectrum sometime next year.