2degrees activates 5G network in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch - but not for iPhones

A 5G cellphone tower
The company will be adding more areas and phones on an ongoing basis, it said. Photo credit: Getty Images

2degrees has announced its new 5G network has launched in parts of New Zealand - but not yet for iPhone users.

The telecommunications company said customers in the central areas of Auckland and Wellington, as well as limited areas in Christchurch, now have access to the fast internet connection.

With the network continuing to be built, more suburbs in all three cities will get access to the functionality "week-by-week", 2degrees said. 

Initially, the 5G network is only available to those with Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold3 and Flip 3 phones and Oppo's Find X3 Pro phone.

Further Samsung, Oppo and Apple devices will be enabled soon, the company said.

Chief technology officer for 2degrees, Martin Sharrock, said the company's focus was about ensuring Kiwis had a choice of high-quality services.

"That's why we've spent in excess of $1 billion on our network, including our ongoing plan to replace every single site in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with brand-new, cutting-edge equipment from Ericsson," he said.

"We are designing and building a world class 5G network for the future, but also enhancing our 4G network alongside it."

The company joins Spark and Vodafone in providing 5G access to those with compatible devices.

"We want to make sure 5G is available where it is needed most, and we are working to cover whole cities for a contiguous experience," Sharrock said.

"The innovative equipment and software we are using will allow us to flexibly change how the network uses 4G and 5G technology together over time. As 5G devices and services mature we can tune the network to how Kiwis want to use it."

The company has been testing the 5G network in areas of Wellington and Auckland since the end of November, including on Apple devices, although they're not supported at launch.

The company said it was the only telco in Aotearoa to be partnering with Ericsson for network improvements.

"Our team has been working closely with 2degrees to bring Ericsson's world-leading technology to New Zealand," Head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, Emilio Romeo said.

"Kiwis are ready to harness the power of enhanced, reliable connectivity that 5G technology brings."