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Expect 5G in NZ by 2020: Vodafone

Sathya Mithra Ashok | June 23, 2014
Speaking on the sidelines of the FutureNow conference in Auckland, CEO of Vodafone NZ shared thoughts on technology and plans for the Christchurch office building.

2020 is when we should expect 5G in New Zealand, and Vodafone NZ will be the first one in the market with the technology, according to the company.

"5G is something you would see here around 2020. That is the time frame we expect it to touchdown here, and you can be sure we will be first with it. It is a continuation of high-speed networks, and 5G will be all about speed. Everything that a customer needs in terms of device and M2M connectivity is already there. From their perspective, they can just sit back and expect the network to get a lot faster and a lot more capable," said Russell Stanners, CEO of Vodafone NZ. He was speaking to Reseller News on the sidelines of the company's FutureNow conference in Auckland.

According to Stanners, one of the biggest challenges facing Vodafone NZ is getting customers to expect less of copper and prepare more for fibre.

"Compare the software industry with the telecom industry. Nobody expects Windows XP to somehow become better after all these years. Yet a lot of customers have huge expectations out of copper -- a technology that was brought out nearly 50 years ago. Why would they expect to have the kind of service levels and capabilities in an old technology, when clearly now the new technology is either the mobile technologies, 4G or fibre based technology

"All our investment is going into building fibre and 4G technology. Fibre is our current line of product for broadband and copper is the end of life product. There is a whole evolution for us as an industry, and consumers and businesses alike to go through to fully appreciate the transition in the next few years. I think you will see it is a bit of bumpy space," said Stanners.

Speaking on the initiative to create a start-up incubator in Christchurch as part of its new office, Stanners stated it was all about creating an environment to support innovation.

"There is more innovative start-ups in the greater Christchurch area than anywhere else in NZ. So just seemed to make sense for us. We wanted to do something more to drive innovation. We arrived at the Xone concept. We have done it overseas and we will give it a go here," said Stanners.

Vodafone's Xone is being created in partnership with Callaghan Innovation and the city of Christchurch, and will host around ten to 20 start-ups. The xone itself will be housed in Vodafone's new office headquarters planned to be opened in the Innovation Precinct of the city in early 2016.

"We will create an environment where we have a shared facility in the building with all the things that you need in a building such as reception services, office services, and all the technology. And we will shrink wrap down a copy of our network, if you like, as a playpen for people to use to build fibre and mobile network solutions and so that's the concept," said Stanners.


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