Vodafone launches innovation initiatives to help businesses harness the power of 5G

The first Vodafone 5G Innovation Lab and a Digital Innovation Speaker Series with University of Canterbury aim to turbocharge local innovation

Vodafone New Zealand has opened its first Vodafone 5G Innovation Lab in Ōtautahi, Christchurch, and announced a partnership with the University of Canterbury to co-deliver a speaker series, aiming to showcase the latest technology and drive innovation for New Zealand businesses.

The Vodafone 5G Innovation Lab will aim to help organisations in Aotearoa understand how they can utilise the increased online speeds, better responsiveness and more capacity for connected devices the fifth generation network, 5G, offers.

On opening the centre, Michelle Sharp, Head of South Island, Vodafone New Zealand, said: “Innovating with new technologies will help businesses to compete on the world stage and our Vodafone 5G Innovation Lab is designed to help organisations understand the power of 5G and next generation technologies.

“We want to bring the 5G network to life and encourage innovation and R&D. Christchurch has a great business community and a progressive range of organisations looking to transform the city, so we’re excited to further bolster this via an awesome, world-class mobile network.

“We’re not sure what the next big app or tech application will be, but we want New Zealanders to have the best chance at inventing it. Just as 4G transformed people lives via increased smartphone capability, 5G has the potential to go even further with the Internet of Things and we’re seeing use cases emerge that centre on connected devices.”

Hon Megan Woods, Minister for Research, Science and Innovation, and member for Wigram in Christchurch, opened the Vodafone 5G Innovation Lab alongside Michelle Sharp – which is located in the company’s inner city tari (office) on Tuam Street.

International and emerging local case studies highlight the potential of the fifth generation mobile network, 5G, to deliver benefits across health, transportation, integrated manufacturing, utilities, safety, waste management and intelligent electricity networks amongst others. When Vodafone switched on 5G mobile on 10 December, 2019, New Zealand became the 22nd country globally to launch this new technology tūranga (platform).

In a survey conducted in September 2019, Cantabrians were the most bullish when it comes to the need for new technologies, with 87% either somewhat agreeing or strongly agreeing that mobile connectivity is important to New Zealand vs 80% across the motu (country).

Sharp added “We know Cantabrians are keen to innovate and we can’t wait to help local organisations undertake research and development to deliver enhanced experiences and business applications via 5G. The opening of the Innovation hub along with the launch of New Zealand’s research and development tax incentive provides local business a novel network, environment and financial incentive to innovate.

“To further encourage innovation in New Zealand, we are also pleased to announce a speaker series with the University of Canterbury, focused on digital innovation. During 2020 we’ll be delivering six informative and interactive events aimed at both the business community and students. The event series will take a look at digital technology that is shaping the way we live and work, and kicks off on April 8 with a deep-dive into innovating with 5G technology.”

Innovation and research and development is already happening at Vodafone. Some of the initial local use case developments include a 5G-enabled drone for the NZ Police and an AI-solution for retail stores with the Aware Group – plus Waste Management, BNZ and Auckland’ Rescue Helicopter are currently working with Vodafone to design 5G applications.

Three key elements to going 5G mobile
To access 5G, Kiwis need a 5G device from Vodafone New Zealand or selected New Zealand retailers, a Vodafone 5G Ready plan and be in a 5G coverage area. Those customers will be able to experience 5G at no extra cost until 30 June 2020. To access 5G from 1 July 2020, customers will be able to purchase a 5G Add-On for $10 per connection, per month (or the equivalent Prepay term).

Samsung currently has four 5G-enabled phones, which offer faster speeds and better processing capacity and future-proof smartphone owners for the next generation of mobile. These include the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra, currently available for pre-sale via, and will be in stores from 6 March.

To discover the potential of 5G and how it can transform your business and life, please visit

Individuals interested in attending the first of the Vodafone and University of Canterbury Digital Innovation Speaker Series in the evening of April 8th can register here:

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