Spark New Zealand completed a standalone (SA) 5G trial using Ericsson’s cloud-native core and Red Hat’s OpenShift software, part of an ongoing move to prepare for the rollout of the technology across its network.

The operator stated OpenShift was integrated with its 5G fixed wireless access network to test enhanced wireless broadband. The trial was completed in three months and validated the technical capabilities of the standalone technology.

Nilay Rathod, technology tribe lead at Spark, said the trial is “an important step” for the operator “to identify the optimal combination of vendors” and equipment needed “to deliver the benefits we want to achieve”.

Ericsson’s head for Australia and New Zealand Emilio Romeo added the trial “demonstrates the range of capabilities and use cases made possible by a network” featuring its dual-mode 5G core.

Spark detailed a multi-vendor strategy for its 5G RAN in 2019.

It conducted a rural 5G trial in 2022 using mmWave spectrum loaned from the government and Nokia equipment.