Spark switched on 5G mobile in limited parts of Auckland. This is, in effect, an extension of and opening up of the private 5G network built to support Team New Zealand in the run up to the America’s Cup.

For the launch, Spark emphasises the Internet of Things and a partnership with Auckland Transport. Its media announcement mentions 5G phone coverage almost as an afterthought.

Spark’s initial 5G network footprint is small. It covers the downtown areas of Britomart, the Viaduct, Commercial Bay and the Wynyard Quarter. There is also coverage in Takapuna on the North Shore.

The IoT roll out includes 5G connected smart lighting around part of the Wynyard Quarter. This maps foot traffic giving Auckland Transport information to better plan future infrastructure investments.

Spark’s 5G network connects High Definition closed circuit TV surveillance cameras to watch for criminal activity.

Elsewhere Spark is using its LoRaWan IoT network for parking sensors, benches with charging ports and rubbish bins that call contractors when they need emptying.

Spark’s network uses Nokia’s AirScale radio technology. This includes NetAct which manages the radio and core networks. Nokia is providing Spark with network planning and support to optimise 5G performance.