Intelligent CIO APAC Issue 34 | Page 40

Ambitious three-year plan invests NZ $ 40 – NZ $ 60 million in 5G Standalone nationwide – upgrading data centers and core mobile networks to deploy on a cloud-native platform as technologies converge .
The latest 5G investment is included in a three-year strategy to FY26 unveiled by Spark in April .
In July last year , Spark sold a 70 % stake in its towers business for NZ $ 900 million to Canadian investment firm Ontario Teachers ’ Pension Plan Board .
Back in February , Spark said it had allocated NZ $ 350 million of proceeds from the sale of its towers to invest in digital infrastructure , data centers and emerging technologies , with about NZ $ 90 million to NZ $ 110 million earmarked for fiscal 2023 .

Spark , New Zealand ’ s largest telecommunications and digital services company , has unveiled an ambitious threeyear plan to invest $ 40 –$ 60 million in 5G Standalone nationwide .

The move means opening up new commercialization opportunities across core mobile and broadband markets – while underpinning growth into new hightech solutions .
“ Our 5G coverage is densifying . This sets us up to continue to grow value in mobile and to move wireless broadband towards 35 % of our base by the end of FY26 ,” said Spark CEO Jolie Hodson .
Hodson said : “ Over the next three years , we will invest NZ $ 250 – NZ $ 300 million in the high-growth data center market and NZ $ 40 – NZ $ 60 million in 5G Standalone , which will open up new commercialization opportunities across our core markets of mobile and broadband , while underpinning growth into new hightech solutions .
“ If there is one thing the last three years have taught us , it is that the businesses that will thrive are the ones that can adapt the most quickly to change . We see a number of supportive tailwinds ahead of us , including the continued exponential growth in data , acceleration of technology convergence , the return of international travel and rising levels of immigration . At the same time , we expect economic uncertainty to be a hallmark of the years ahead , and as Aotearoa gets bigger , older and more diverse , we must ensure Spark is changing alongside it .”
Spark has pitched a 3G switch-off date towards the end of 2025 with this spectrum used to support its rural 5G rollout . That 3G network was launched in 2009 .
Spark stats show that just 4 % of its entire network data traffic runs over 3G , while 3G voice calls have declined by 70 % since 2019 and the 4G service currently serves 98 % of the country ’ s population .
Spark Chair Justine Smyth said : “ Over the last almost three years Spark has built competitive advantage through a strategic focus on simplification , data , new technology investment and building a highperformance culture , which is delivering better customer experiences and fuelling market growth . This focussed execution has seen Spark ’ s total shareholder returns outperform most international peers .

Spark fires up New Zealand for Standalone 5G

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