Spark, New Zealand's largest telecommunications and digital services provider, along with Ericsson and Red Hat, announced the successful completion of a 5G standalone (5G SA) trial in New Zealand. Spark New Zealand operates under the Spark brand and serves both consumer and business customers with its mobile, broadband, and digital services.
5G Standalone (SA) trial
The 5G SA trial was completed within three months, demonstrating the ease with which standalone cloud-native 5G solutions can be deployed. The 5G SA trial was supported by Ericsson's 5G Cloud Native Core running on Red Hat Open Shift, integrated with Spark's 5G Fixed Wireless Access Network (FWA) to test enhanced broadband.
Spark's First 5G SA Trial in 2022
New Zealand Telecom operators have implemented the NSA version of 5G (Non-Standalone 5G), which is dependent on 4G infrastructure. Back in August 2022, Spark initiated the 5G SA trials to roll out the 5G Standalone Network at a Scale and explore the benefits. The current trial is a part of the ongoing groundwork that Spark initiated in August.
Nilay Rathod, Technology Tribe Lead at Spark, says, "This proof-of-concept trial with Ericsson and Red Hat demonstrates the potential that 5G standalone technology offers to our Spark network, opening the door on capacity and low latency to help accelerate Internet of Things trends, such as connected cars, smart cities and industrial IoT. The benefits of this technology include greater opportunities for our partners and better services for our customers. Trialing the solutions offered by Ericsson and Red Hat is an important step for us to identify the optimal combination of vendors and solutions to deliver the benefits we want to achieve, as we work to bring relevant use cases specific to New Zealand's local requirements."
Also Read: Explained: Differences Between 5G NSA and SA
Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson, Australia and New Zealand, says, "Ericsson's technology portfolio to support 5G Standalone presents a pathway to 5G maturity and future-readiness for communications service providers, their partners and customers. This trial with Spark and Red Hat clearly demonstrates the range of capabilities and use cases made possible by a network underpinned by Ericsson's dual-mode 5G Core technology including ultra-low latency and access to higher data rates for applications such as cloud gaming, immersive video and real-time robotics control."
Ben Panic, APAC Head of Telco, Media & Entertainment at Red Hat, says, "Red Hat is excited to collaborate with Ericsson and Spark to deliver positive business and technical outcomes for New Zealand's leading telecommunications carrier and its customers. This trial with Spark showcases the power of Red Hat OpenShift in supporting greater flexibility, reliability and scalability for software-defined networks and any underpinning systems. In longstanding collaboration with both Ericsson and Spark, Red Hat is pleased to play a key role in building the future of one of New Zealand's largest wireless mobile networks."
5G SA Use Cases
The 5G SA trial demonstrated how 5G SA technology could deliver the low latency, high bandwidth and reliability required for high-performance use cases, such as real-time video analytics, compared to previous wireless technologies. In addition, Ericsson's dual-mode 5G Core network slicing and edge computing deployment capabilities create new monetization opportunities for Spark's customers in enterprise segments.
Earlier this month, Spark was onboarded as the new IST (Information, Systems and Technology) technology Partner for Parliamentary Services of New Zealand.