Our first look at the New Zealand 5G Experience indicates a closely fought contest between the two national operators who have launched 5G — Spark and Vodafone. Out of six categories, there is only one — 5G Download Speed — where one operator wins outright. Vodafone did so with a lead of 118.6 Mbps over Spark.
These 5G results are an impressive achievement for Spark, given that Vodafone was the first operator in New Zealand to launch 5G and has had more time to develop its 5G network experience. By comparison, Spark launched 5G services in July 2020 in Palmerston North, while Vodafone launched its commercial 5G service back in December 2019 in parts of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown.
Spark announced that it is investing an extra NZD35 million (approximately US$24.6 million) in August to accelerate its 5G rollout and is aiming to hit roughly 90% 5G population coverage by the end of 2023.
2degrees is behind Spark and Vodafone on its 5G services. However, it signed a deal with Ericsson in April to support a 5G launch in 2021 starting in Auckland and Wellington. However, 2degrees’ majority owner, Trilogy International Partners (TIP) has been busy exploring an initial public offering (IPO) for 2degrees only to pause this initiative in favor of a potential merger between 2degrees and local broadband operator Vocus NZ — which is being rebranded as Orcon Group.
Looking internationally, New Zealand has been performing strongly in terms of the experience of our users when they were connected to 5G. In our Benchmarking the Global 5G Experience — September 2021
analysis, the country appeared in the top 15 countries for 5G Download Speed, Peak 5G Download Speed, 5G Voice App Experience and 5G vs 4G Download Speed Improvement.
In this report, we've analyzed real-world 5G data gathered in the 90 days starting July 1 and ending September 28, 2021 to see how New Zealand’s two national operators with commercially launched 5G networks — Spark and Vodafone — stack up. Our results in this report use measurements from our users when they were connected to 5G networks.
We have also published a companion report — New Zealand Mobile Network Experience October 2021 — which analyzes the overall experience of all our mobile users in New Zealand.