Telco 2degrees has officially launched its 5G network for any consumer or business customer using one of three currently approved handsets, not including any of the most popular devices.
Customers in selected areas in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch who are using a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 or Flip3, or an Oppo Find X3 Pro can connect to the 2degrees 5G network with no extra charge "at this stage", a statement from the telco said.
It added that further handsets will be enabled in the coming months, as well as a wireless 5G home broadband modem.
A 2degrees spokesperson told CRN, "We are getting as many handsets ready to go as possible, and these take a bit of time, as we make sure they are optimised for the 2degrees 5G network."
While the 2degrees website shows Nokia-branded modems, the company declined to give more specific details about the hardware at this stage.
The network has been rolled out in partnership with Ericsson who are providing the hardware and software to enable the telco's core radio access network for 5G.
“We’ve spent in excess of $1b on our network, including our ongoing plan to replace every single site in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with brand-new, cutting-edge equipment from Ericsson. We are designing and building a world class 5G network for the future, but also enhancing our 4G network alongside it," 2degrees chief technology officer Martin Sharrock said in the statement.
“We’ve followed our own unique strategy when designing and building the 2degrees 5G network. We want to make sure 5G is available where it is needed most, and we are working to cover whole cities for a contiguous experience," he added. "The innovative equipment and software we are using will allow us to flexibly change how the network uses 4G and 5G technology together over time. As 5G devices and services mature we can tune the network to how Kiwis want to use it."
2degrees was recently acquired by Vocus subsidiary Orcon. The two are planning to merge, retaining the 2degrees name and branding with Vocus NZ CEO at the helm.