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  • 18 March 2019 21:09

Security and Regulatory Concerns to Play Key Role in 5G Technology Development in Australia and New Zealand

Restriction of Chinese 5G technology vendors for infrastructure development on the basis of national security, commercialization initiatives by major telecom operators, and spectrum allocation issues are key trends that are currently influencing the development of the 5G technology market in Australia and New Zealand.

Penetration of 5G technology is increasing rapidly across the Oceania region, as benefits of 5G technology, such as faster connections, minimal delays, and a variety of new services, are keeping consumers hooked to the technology. Also, on the other hand, upgrades from 3G and 4G to 5G are allowing telecom operators in Australia and New Zealand to provide more connections in any area.

With the ongoing developments in the field of technology, opportunities in the nascent field of Internet of Things (IoT), including autonomous driving, smart homes, and intelligent public infrastructure among others, will make the Oceania region more lucrative for 5G service providers.

Government Regulators Restrict Chinese Vendors in Development of 5G Networks

Following the ban on China-based telecommunications equipment and consumer electronics manufacturer - Huawei in the United States for 5G network development, the company has also been restricted from participating in the rollout of Australia’s national 5G network. The government reviewed and provided guidance to the telecom sector in mid-2018, suggesting that the use of China based device and technology vendors should be restricted.

The review states that the introduction of 5G is expected to create massive changes in how telecom networks will operate, creating space for potential security risks, which can make current methods of protection insufficient. Rising threats of cybercrime, and third country government-sponsored threats will make a significant impact on 5G technology landscape in the region.

Following the decision of the Australian government, New Zealand’s intelligence agencies also rejected the bid of China based telecom company bids including that of Huawei, citing concerns over national security. These restrictions, while potentially securing the future development of 5G networks in Australia and New Zealand, are anticipated to increase the overall costs related to 5g network developments in the region.

Mobile Operators to Go Commercial with 5G by 2020

A large number of developed countries around the globe, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have already set out to commercialize 5G broadband services. This has prompted private telecom bodies and the governments of Australia and New Zealand to set up a standard for the regulation of 5G technologies in the region.

Major telecom giants in Australia – Optus and Telstra have announced their intentions to start the sale of commercial 5G based services by the end of 2019. Vodafone is also expected to follow and roll out their 5G network in 2020.

Vodafone and TelstraClear are major telecom companies in the New Zealand who plan to reveal their commercial 5G networks in the country by the end of 2020. They will compete in the data and broadband space with regional players including Orcon, Kordia, and Spark New Zealand among others.

Regulatory Issues Create Hurdles for the Rollout of 5G

The timely allocation of the 5G spectrum to telecom operators is a key regulatory issue that stands before the deployment of 5G in New Zealand. In addition, the New Zealand telecom market is projected to remain small in relation to the average investment that is required to set up a national 5G network.

Service providers in New Zealand Market are currently grappling with the problem of improving feasibility of a single national network in comparison to that of multiple networks, in terms of cost-effectiveness.

New Zealand has witnessed consolidation in terms of network in terms of the country’s Rural Broadband Initiative that supports the use of a single nationwide network for remote and rural areas. On the other hand, cellular mobile providers are expected to set national prices for their services in urban and semi urban areas.

Similarly for Australia, the characteristics of 5G are yet to be clearly defined, while optimal spectrum arrangements and network configurations are still in development. Emerging technologies, such as beamforming techniques and Massive Multiple Input and Multiple Output, are expected to improve on spectrum efficiency in the region with wider bandwidths and higher number of frequencies.

Existing mobile networks are expected to play key roles in the national coverage of 5G transmissions in both countries. The existing 4G network will soon be widely used as a control layer, which can be attributed to the prohibitory increased expenses of building and operating an independent 5G network.

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