Spark New Zealand Ltd to manage part of New Zealand’s 5G spectrum allocation

On Tuesday, Spark New Zealand Ltd stated, it will manage part of New Zealand’s allocation of 5G spectrum as the country prepares to roll out the next generation mobile technology over the next year.

In a statement to the New Zealand Stock Exchange, Spark New Zealand Ltd said, it will be offered management rights to 60 MHz of a 3.5 GHz spectrum in 5G mobile phone technology.

The development comes in the wake of Spark abandoning plans in 2019 to exclusively rely on Huawei for rolling out 5G services in New Zealand midst concerns over national security.

The government’s allocation enables significant investment in 5G over the coming year and touts its importance in New Zealand’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, said Spark New Zealand’s CEO Jolie Hodson.

“Our recovery from COVID-19 is a long game … and in a world where physical distancing will remain critical for some time, technologies that connect people virtually have a fundamental role to play in our economic recovery,” said Hodson.

Last year Spark ditched plans to rely on Huawei exclusively for the rollout of 5G mobile services with Huawei, which has come under international scrutiny over allegation that its equipment could be used for espionage.

Governments across democracies and intelligence agencies have stuck to their stand despite Huawei’s denials.

Spark has kept Huawei as part of a three-company preferred list of equipment suppliers which include Nokia and Samsung Electronics.

Over the next year, Spark plans on rolling out 5G services in a number of major centres and is keen on working with the government to accelerate the timeline for a longer-term spectrum auction, which is currently scheduled for November 2022.

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