The accelerated rollout was intended to introduce 5G to an additional 10 – 15 locations across the country by the end of 2022 , with more to follow in 2023 – including expanding coverage in the existing Spark 5G locations of Auckland , Christchurch , Hamilton , Dunedin , New Plymouth and Palmerston North .
As envisaged , the accelerated rollout would see Spark upgrade approximately 50 % of its sites nationally to 5G by the end of calendar year 2022 and 85 % by the end of calendar year 2023 .
In 2020 , Spark was allocated management rights to 60 MHz of 3.5GHZ ( or C Band ) spectrum – which allowed the 5G rollout across FY21 .
Work continued with the government and other stakeholders on the longer-term 3.5GHz auction and to enable access to the 600Mhz band – particularly important for rural areas because of its ability to provide 5G connectivity over greater distances .
In 2022 , to lay the groundwork for Spark to roll out standalone 5G at scale in the future and explore the future benefits of 5G , Spark created and ran two proof-of-concepts for Standalone 5G with technology providers Mavenir ( 5G Standalone cloudnative core solution ) and AWS ( multi access Edge Computing and 5G optimized cloud solutions and technology partners Nokia ( cell site infrastructure ) and OPPO ( 5G devices ).