ComCom Clocks 5G Wireless Speeds For First Time

The Commerce Commission has released its latest broadband monitoring report which shows, for the first time, performance results for Spark’s 5G wireless broadband service.

Telecommunications Commissioner, Tristan Gilbertson, says these results are useful for Kiwis wanting to compare different plans and technologies.

“We can now see how 5G wireless broadband stacks up against the other broadband technologies we measure – something that will be increasingly important as 5G networks roll out further across New Zealand and uptake increases beyond the current total of 5,500 connections.”

The results for Spark’s Max Wireless 5G plans reveal average download speeds of 329Mbps during peak hours – more than three times faster than Spark’s urban 4G Fixed Wireless at 61Mbps.

While 5G wireless broadband speeds could slow as more customers take up these plans and load builds on provider networks, Mr Gilbertson says that the performance measured makes this a potentially attractive option for consumers.

This report includes download and upload speeds for Spark’s wireless plans, which are important factors for internet experience. Mr Gilbertson says future reports will provide a more complete picture by including additional metrics, such as latency, and how 5G wireless broadband performs across a wider range of applications – such as streaming and video conferencing.

“We welcome the innovation in Spark’s 5G wireless broadband modems – which uses SamKnows software to monitor performance for each of its customers – and flows into independent reporting under our MBNZ programme. We hope Spark’s move will encourage other providers to get the performance of their 5G services measured and included in the MBNZ programme too.

“As broadband technology continues to evolve, we know consumers value having a clear, transparent and reliable source of information to inform their choice of connectivity,” Mr Gilbertson says.

Background

While the Commission has been monitoring residential broadband performance since 2007, it first launched the MBNZ programme in 2018 when it partnered with SamKnows, a world leader in broadband performance measurement.

Since then, the programme has published quarterly reports to provide independent information that shows broadband performance across different providers, plans, and technologies to enable consumers to make confident and informed choices about their connectivity and encourages providers to compete on performance, not just price.

For the first time this MBNZ report includes results from testing with Spark embedding SamKnows software directly into the modems of 800 customers on its Everyday Wireless, Max Wireless and Rural Wireless broadband plans with its latest Wireless Broadband modems (Spark Smart Modem 2 or a 5G Smart Modem).

The embedded testing uses the same methodology as the Whiteboxes supplied to volunteers of the Commission’s MBNZ programme. The results are verified by SamKnows and comply with the Commission’s requirements for inclusion in the report.

The Commission’s latest monitoring shows that there are currently around 5,500 consumers with a 5G wireless broadband connection in New Zealand – a figure that is likely to increase as 5G networks are rolled out across more of the country.

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