For Vodafone CEO Russell Stanners a recent technology showcase displaying the kind of cutting edge innovation that a 5G world will bring to New Zealand was the perfect opportunity to reveal the hard work that’s already been done.
“We are a global player, in fact many of the things that we were able to demonstrate at the 5G showcase have come from teams worldwide in Vodafone working to set the standard of what’s possible,” Russell said.
5G or ‘fifth generation’ is an evolution of GSMA radio networking and is set to dramatically increase the speed at which data can navigate across mobile networks.
By leveraging existing network infrastructure, 5G network upgrades will pave the way for a huge range of high-speed and high-capacity applications over wireless networks.
Futuristic applications on display included low-latency collaborative robots able to react instantaneously from instructions sent over 5G from the other side of the world, a virtual reality science lab, and the world’s first gaming tournament over 5G.
The tournament featured players from Vodafone staff and one of Australasia’s top Pro League of Legends teams ‘Tectonic’, and was broadcast to thousands of fans through the e-sports platform, Twitch.
“We’ve been working on 5G for a long time. In fact we did our first speed test some 18 months ago in 2016. We have done a lot of trials and partnerships around the world. We clearly see it as an evolution of the network we have today – and in many ways it’s actually quite a simple technology upgrade.
“In terms of speeds you will start to see the possibility of up to 20GBs a second. The second capability of 5G is low-latency, which really is the responsiveness of the network and supports the whole concept of robotics and driverless cars. It’s also the backbone for IoT development (Internet of Things) and we have actually started rolling out that capability right now by driving out Narrowband IoT,” Russell added.
Vodafone prides itself on ensuring that 5G will be for all of New Zealand – both urban and rural.
“All Kiwis will be 10-20GB users come 2020. We have a lot happening here and around the world to bring this technology to the forefront, and it’s an evolution that we expect to start rolling out here over the next two to three years into the networks,” Russell said.