2degrees launching 5G network in 2021 with Ericsson

Telecommunications company 2degrees has partnered with Ericsson to build a 5G network in New Zealand launching this year.

The company's two rivals Vodafone and Spark already offer 5G coverage in multiple parts of both the North and South Islands of Aotearoa.

2degrees says the build of its 5G network starts immediately in Auckland and Wellington, with plans to expand to 700 sites in the other main centres.

It's the first telco in New Zealand to partner with Ericsson on 5G in the country.

Earlier this year, Ericsson was named by research company Gartner as the best company in the world in its "ability to execute" on 5G networks.

Although 2degrees is late to the Aotearoa 5G party, the company's Chief Executive Mark Aue reckons that's a good thing.

"Our launch will be well-timed and what we're building today will be far more advanced than what any telco could deliver a year ago," says Aue.

"In the past 18 months there have been significant advances in the 5G ecosystem and our 5G build is poised to capitalise on that - ultimately 2degrees customers will benefit from mature and proven technology."

In a further comment, he suggests the 5G network might be up and running quicker than people may expect.

"We started replacing the core of our network in 2020 and now we can accelerate the build out of 5G with our planned upgrade of existing sites. The move to 5G is a natural evolution for 2degrees and, like the move to 3G and then 4G, will be funded by the company's established capital investment plan."

2degrees hasn't been more specific on when its 5G network will be activated, other than before the end of 2021.