This week: An essay of The Download 2.0, a weekly recap of New Zealand telecommunications news. You can sign up below to receive the newsletter in your inbox every Friday.

Spark chooses Nokia to accelerate 5G rollout
Nokia Airscale Radio

Nokia says it has won a deal to provide Radio Access Network (Ran) technology in a large part of Spark’s 5G deployment. The contract will also see Nokia upgrade 4G equipment at the sites.

After a modest start, Spark accelerated its 5G rollout plan. Spark’s presentation of FY21 results revealed plans to cover 90% of the population by the end of 2023. The move represents a significant capital investment.

Spark’s plan assumes that the government will have made the necessary spectrum available by then. It is not guaranteed.

At the start of its 5G rollout, Spark awarded contracts to Samsung, a newcomer to the networking equipment scene.

Previously, Spark had worked with Huawei to build its 4G network. This company is now, in effect, prevented from building 5G networks in New Zealand.

Nokia will use its latest AirScale wallet, including the company’s ReefShark System-on-Chip technology. He says this is energy efficient and will allow customers to connect at ten times the speeds while using less power.

Spark has previously said its accelerated 5G program will give the company a competitive edge. The new technology will increase its capacity, provide customers with greater speed and extend the reach of its fixed wireless broadband offering.

ComCom signs the acquisition of Trustpower by Mercury

After an investigation, the Trade Commission gave the green light to the proposed acquisition by Mercury of the retail activities of Trustpower. The regulator said the move is unlikely to reduce competition.

Although Trustpower is an energy company, it is New Zealand’s fifth largest retail broadband service provider. At the end of last year, it had a 6% market share.

Trustpower sells fiber, fixed wireless broadband and mobile phone services. In many cases, its customers combine broadband and mobile services with electricity.

2degrees announces a board before the planned float

While telco 2degrees has yet to confirm that it will be listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange later this year, it has appointed seven board members for the float. The seven are Kathryn Mitchell, Ken Tunnicliffe, Mark Cairns, Meg Matthews, Brad Horwitz, John Stanton and Erick Mickels.

In the winter, 2degrees held meetings with potential institutional investors in New Zealand and Australia. Majority shareholder, Trilogy International Partners has said it aims for an IPO either later this year or early 2022.

Vocus also plans to launch operations in New Zealand later this year.

The reconstructed Havelock North 4G tower

A report from Stuff says construction work on a Spark 4G tower in Havelock North has resumed. Construction came to a halt in 2019 after protests and the site remains controversial with locals.

Online sales have surged as New Zealand locks down

Slice Digital, an affiliate marketing network, reports that online traffic and sales through its service increased dramatically in August as the country locked down. Traffic increased 78 percent in the second half of August compared to the first half while sales were up 162 percent. September sales are up 129% from August sales.

Vector works with Google

Vector is working with Google’s X Division to create a map of its Auckland electricity grid. The objective is to build a virtual simulation of the network and then to use it for planning. The pair say it will help Vector keep ahead of growing demand for clean energy, renewable energy and prepare for a large fleet of electric vehicles.

Tex Edwards behind the supermarket project

2degrees founder and director of Hawaiki Cable, Tex Edwards, made headlines this week promoting a plan to overturn the supermarket duopoly. It’s a decision that echoes his involvement in the creation of a third mobile network more than ten years ago. If Edwards succeeds in getting his plans off the ground, it will be familiar territory for at least one of his new rivals: Foodstuffs CEO Chris Quinn was a Telecom NZ executive when 2degrees became the third-largest mobile company.

Download 2.0 – October 1, 2021 was first released on billbennett.co.nz.

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