equitable access

Dense Air Working with the New Zealand Government to Explore Accelerating 5G Connectivity Nationwide

Dense Air is negotiating an administrative allocation of 3.5 GHz spectrum to help bring 5G connectivity to under-served areas of New Zealand.

The government of New Zealand has taken welcome steps to close the digital divide — and to enable New Zealand to become a leader in 5G network access across both populous cities and remote rural towns and communities. 

Holistic 5G coverage requires an unprecedented densification of radio access points, yet deployments that extend connectivity to rural regions and address city coverage gaps can be difficult and costly. Dense Air promotes and provides shared network infrastructure “as-a-Service” to help incumbent service providers deliver on these goals faster and more economically than traditional approaches allow. 

Dense Air’s shared, small-cell infrastructure doesn’t replace existing networks — it augments and extends them. Today, providers often have difficulty in reaching remote areas economically, and providing high-quality coverage to all corners of densely populated cities. Often, the investment required is not viable for a single service provider, and even with government initiatives for rural builds, such deployments are expensive to maintain. Dense Air’s neutral host radio access network addresses these issues by providing a seamless extension of the existing service providers’ networks, using shared infrastructure — economically increasing network density and offering ubiquitous coverage in places that might otherwise be left behind.

Today, we’re proud to announce that Dense Air, the world’s leading provider of shared 4G and 5G neutral host radio access network infrastructure, will work alongside Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) to address mobile coverage challenges in under-served areas. CIP is the public entity established to manage the government of New Zealand’s investment in broadband infrastructure and seeks to facilitate the faster delivery of 4G and 5G services in rural communities across the country. 

The government has agreed to progress discussions around the provision of 3.5 GHz spectrum to Dense Air, subject to the outcome of final negotiations. Dense Air plans to use this spectrum, in partnership with the mobile service providers, to help extend and densify networks across the country. Thanks to the government’s work program, more New Zealanders will be better served by 5G connections, ensuring access to the same quality of mobile services as those in New Zealand’s more populated areas. 

Dense Air plans to work with the government through CIP to identify key rural locations of economic and community significance — including visitor sites, small towns, and other currently under-served communities — and to build a single shared network in these areas capable of broadcasting the services of each of the service providers. In parallel with these rural rollouts, Dense Air will deliver new, high-capacity neutral host infrastructure to provide coverage and capacity in under-served urban and suburban areas, and work with the government to identify the best applications for Dense Air technology in other settings.

Dense Air has been active in New Zealand since 2018. During this time Dense Air has successfully completed initial network integrations, technical trials, and production deployments. Since 2021, Dense Air’s solutions have been in commercial operation in New Zealand in diverse applications such as corporate offices and shopping malls. This next step into 5G neutral host solutions greatly expands the applicability of Dense Air’s solutions to the New Zealand market, allowing  Dense Air to expand and enhance New Zealand’s 4G and 5G network reach — providing connectivity where it’s needed.

Dense Air is a subsidiary of Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, a company that combines differentiated technology with precedent-setting infrastructure projects to address critical societal needs. Dense Air operates within SIP’s CoFi innovation platform, which aims to make connectivity more open, shared, and inclusive through public-private partnerships.

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