Vodafone says its 5G network build is "progressing well" as the telco begun testing at its first South Island 5G-enabled site ahead of a nationwide rollout in December.

Located at Addington Racecourse in Christchurch, the existing mobile cell site has been upgraded with specialist Nokia technology, including 5G-enabled antennas.

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Sharina Nisha, Head of Platforms at Vodafone New Zealand, said as part of the network testing, engineers are checking connectivity and responsiveness.

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"Our network build has been progressing well and we're pleased to announce that testing for our first South Island 5G site is underway.

"We'll be upgrading a number of existing cell sites in Christchurch over the coming months, which will include both 5G and 4.5G technology installations.

"Our team of engineers will be undertaking extensive testing to ensure we're providing optimum connectivity for customers when the 5G network is first switched on in December."

Vodafone will begin its rollout in December with 100 cellsites upgraded to 5G. Photo / 123RF
Vodafone will begin its rollout in December with 100 cellsites upgraded to 5G. Photo / 123RF

Nisha said they're confident Kiwis will be impressed by the faster speeds and lower latency that 5G offers.

Vodafone will begin its rollout in December, with 100 cellsites upgraded to 5G across Auckland (which will bag 70), Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

An additional 400 cell sites will be upgraded to be 4.5G-enabled sites.

Technology director Tony Baird recently told the Herald the telco will have 1400 5G cellsites in three years, giving 94 per cent of the population access to 5G.

Baird said 5G has the potential to turbocharge New Zealand businesses.

"5G will power the next evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) and will enable hyper-connectivity between machines, smart devices and people.

"The greater control offered to devices powered by the faster transition speeds and lower latency that 5G offers, complemented by advances in battery life, will mean that Kiwi businesses can use 5G as a tool to develop the next raft of technology innovations.

"We're excited to bring the future to New Zealand, and help unlock innovations that will enable all New Zealanders to live better, safer, healthier and more connected lives."

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