Accelerated 5G roll-out to benefit rural New Zealanders

Published: 12 May 2023

The Government has today announced that contracts have been signed with New Zealand’s 3 major telecommunications network operators to accelerate the roll-out of 5G services and improve rural connectivity.

The Government has been working with Spark, 2Degrees and One New Zealand over the past 14 months to negotiate a deal that will:

  • deliver a faster roll-out of 5G services to around 55 towns across New Zealand
  • further expand mobile wireless coverage in rural areas, benefitting Kiwis in rural and remotes areas.

In return, and as part of the Government’s commitments to securing New Zealand’s economic recovery post COVID-19, and to improve rural connectivity, Cabinet agreed to provide long-term access to the 3.5 GHz radio spectrum band (used across the world for 5G services) through a direct allocation process in March 2022.

The details of this agreement include:

  • New Zealand’s 3 mobile network operators (MNOs) each receiving 80 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5GHz band. This is sufficient radio spectrum for all 3 MNOs to operate nation-wide 5G networks.
  • The Interim Māori Spectrum Commission receiving 100 MHz of spectrum. The Interim Māori Spectrum Commission will manage this spectrum, on behalf of all Māori.

This agreement adds to and builds on other Government investment, including the $60 million allocated through Budget 2022 for rural connectivity improvements, as well as the $47 million of rural capacity upgrades that commenced in February 2022.

Further information is available on the Radio Spectrum Management website.

Preparing for 5G in New Zealand(external link) — Radio Spectrum Management New Zealand

Govt to speed up 5G rollout to regional towns(external link) —

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