Spark collaborates with Ericsson and Red Hat for 5G standalone trial

Spark, New Zealand’s largest telecommunications and digital services provider, together with Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Red Hat today announced the successful completion of a 5G Standalone (5G SA) trial in New Zealand. The trial was delivered within an impressive three-month timeframe, demonstrating the ease with which standalone cloud-native solutions can be deployed.

The 5G SA trial was underpinned by Ericsson’s cloud-native 5G Core running on Red Hat OpenShift, integrated with Spark’s 5G Fixed Wireless Access Network (FWA) to test enhanced wireless broadband. The trial successfully confirmed and validated the technical capabilities of 5G Standalone technology on Spark’s network.  

The trial demonstrates how 5G standalone technology can deliver the low latency, high bandwidth and reliability that are required for high-performance use cases, such as real-time video analytics, when compared to previous wireless technologies. Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core network slicing and edge computing deployment capabilities creates the potential for new monetisation opportunities for Spark’s customers in enterprise and critical communication.

The trial is part of the ongoing groundwork that Spark is undertaking to prepare for the roll out 5G standalone network at scale in the future and explore the future benefits of 5G

Nilay Rathod, Technology Tribe Lead at Spark, says: “This proof-of-concept trial with Ericsson and Red Hat demonstrates the potential that 5G standalone technology offers to our Spark network, opening the door on capacity and low latency to help accelerate Internet of Things trends, such as connected cars, smart cities and industrial IoT. The benefits of this technology include greater opportunities for our partners and better services for our customers. Trialing the solutions offered by Ericsson and Red Hat is an important step for us to identify the optimal combination of vendors and solutions to deliver the benefits we want to achieve, as we work to bring relevant use cases specific to New Zealand’s local requirements.”

Emilio Romeo, Head of Ericsson, Australia and New Zealand, says “Ericsson’s technology portfolio to support 5G Standalone presents a pathway to 5G maturity and future-readiness for communications service providers, their partners and customers. This trial with Spark and Red Hat clearly demonstrates the range of capabilities and use cases made possible by a network underpinned by Ericsson’s dual-mode 5G Core technology including ultra-low latency and access to higher data rates for applications such as cloud gaming, immersive video and real-time robotics control.” ​​

Ben Panic, APAC Head of Telco, Media & Entertainment at Red Hat, says: “Red Hat is excited to collaborate with Ericsson and Spark to deliver positive business and technical outcomes for New Zealand’s leading telecommunications carrier and its customers. This trial with Spark showcases the power of Red Hat OpenShift in supporting greater flexibility, reliability and scalability for software-defined networks and any underpinning systems. In longstanding collaboration with both Ericsson and Spark, Red Hat is pleased to play a key role in building the future of one of New Zealand’s largest wireless mobile networks."

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