Nokia joins Spark's preferred vendor list for 5G rollout

Friday, 22 November, 2019

Nokia joins Spark's preferred vendor list for 5G rollout

Nokia is set to deploy its radio access network (RAN) equipment at over 200 sites throughout New Zealand after being named a preferred vendor for Spark’s 5G rollout. 

The news sees Nokia join the likes of Samsung and Huawei as a preferred supplier under Spark’s multivendor strategy.  

Spark Technology Director Mark Beder said Nokia’s equipment would support the rollout of 5G wireless broadband to five NZ South Island locations by Christmas this year, as well as several other heartland locations from March 2020.

The company intends to launch 5G mobile and wireless broadband services in major centres from mid-2020, so long as the government makes spectrum available, Spark said. 

Nokia assisted Spark in launching 5G wireless broadband in Alexandria earlier this year. 

Beder said wireless broadband was the first meaningful use for 5G in NZ.

“Our 5G rollout approach is two-fold. Firstly, we are advancing our network delivery plans so we can roll out quickly in major centres once the necessary spectrum becomes available. Secondly, we’re innovating by repurposing some of our existing spectrum to deliver 5G wireless broadband in places where it will make a real difference to customers,” Beder said.

“We are prioritising our activity to heartland locations as we think these are the places that will benefit most from the increased capacity and speed of 5G wireless broadband, and we are excited to be bringing the early benefits of 5G to customers in parts of New Zealand that have usually lagged well behind the major centres for previous technology rollouts.”

Under its multivendor strategy, Spark will also continue to use Cisco and Ericsson for separate elements of its existing network core which has already been upgraded to ensure it is non-standalone (NSA) 5G capable, according to Spark Central Manager of Value Management Rajesh Singh.

“We’ve consistently said our approach to 5G will be multivendor. A key reason for this is that 5G technology is still emerging and is likely to develop significantly in the next few years, so a mix of vendors makes sense,” Singh said.

“As with any network deployment, the rollout of our 5G network is subject to government approval in accordance with the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013 (TICSA). We have already obtained approval through TICSA to use Nokia 5G RAN equipment for our recently announced deployment in Alexandra and for our upcoming locations before Christmas. We have withdrawn our original TICSA application, which proposed a single-vendor 5G RAN strategy. We will work through the TICSA approval process in due course with our other RAN vendors, prior to any deployment of their equipment.”

Image credit: ©Галина Сандалова

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