Wednesday, 20 November 2019 10:21

Spark says it has multi-vendor 5G policy; Huawei, Samsung also on list Featured

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Spark says it has multi-vendor 5G policy; Huawei, Samsung also on list Pixabay

New Zealand telco Spark says it has three potential 5G partners in Nokia, Samsung and Huawei, in response to queries about its announcement of signing up Nokia for providing 5G wireless broadband in five more South Island heartland locations before Christmas.

The language used in its announcement appears to be designed to sidestep any controversy over the sidelining of Huawei for its first two staged 5G rollouts. Nokia's statement about the launch avoided any mention of Spark's multi-vendor policy.

In September, Spark switched on the first 5G services in New Zealand, with 5G wireless broadband being launched in in Alexandra.

Last year, Spark had a proposal for 5G with Huawei knocked back by the General Communications Security Bureau, New Zealand's main spy agency.

Following that, the company said it would resubmit a proposal to the GSCB. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on two occasions that this did not indicate a total ban on Huawei.

She initially told a regular weekly news conference in February that Wellington would carry out its own risk-assessment to make a final decision on whether to use Huawei equipment or not.

Spark's statement on the Nokia deal on Tuesday was headlined, "Spark announces 5G rollout plans into 2020 and network vendors."

And it said, "Spark will deliver 5G wireless broadband into five more South Island heartland locations prior to Christmas, followed by further heartland communities from March 2020. A broader range of 5G services, covering both mobile as well as wireless broadband, will launch into major centres from mid 2020, subject to spectrum being made available by the government."

Rajesh Singh, the general manager of value management, said Spark now had three companies - Nokia, Samsung and Huawei - on its roster of preferred RAN equipment suppliers for 5G. Spark would continue to use Cisco and Ericsson for separate elements of its existing Network Core, which has already been upgraded to ensure it is Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G capable.

“We’ve consistently said our approach to 5G will be multi-vendor. A key reason for this is that 5G technology is still emerging and is likely to develop significantly in the next few years, so a mix of vendors makes sense,” Singh said.

“As with any network deployment the roll-out of our 5G network is subject to government approval in accordance with the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act 2013 (TICSA).

"We have already obtained approval through TICSA to use Nokia 5G RAN equipment for our recently announced deployment in Alexandra, and for our upcoming locations before Christmas.

"We have withdrawn our original TICSA application, which proposed a single-vendor 5G RAN strategy. We will work through the TICSA approval process in due course with our other RAN vendors, prior to any deployment of their equipment.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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