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Spark and Toyota collaborate on 5G launch in Palmerston North

Spark has today announced Palmerston North’s city centre as the first location in New Zealand to have access to 5G on both mobile and wireless broadband, with an additional four locations to follow in the next six months.

Spark CEO Jolie Hodson said this is the first cab off the rank in a long-term and significant investment in 5G infrastructure across the country, which will play a critical role in improving New Zealand’s productivity and supporting the country’s economic recovery from Covid-19.


“We believe in the potential of 5G technology to solve some of our country’s greatest challenges and never has this been more critical as we adapt to new ways of working, learning and connecting as a country.


“We’ve already seen first-hand how businesses have used technology to innovate and adapt to our ‘new normal.’ Teachers took their lessons online; global sporting events went virtual and supermarkets created the ability to manage social distancing with online queues. As a nation of innovators, imagine what could be achieved, what solutions these businesses could create to move our country forward with the power of 5G.”


Spark has already started working with Toyota New Zealand to untap the value of 5G in Palmerston North.


Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager for Business Technology, Andrew Davis, said 5G provides Toyota with the opportunity to further investigate innovative customer experiences, while also helping them deliver on their net carbon reduction targets by helping in the reduction of logistics freight. By using 5G, Toyota are looking to optimise their customer experience both in their Toyota Stores, and online, through concepts like virtual test drives.


“We have partnered with Spark to use 5G to further enhance our future of online retailing. Customers are faced with so many options when buying a new car, so research is a really important part of their buying experience. At this stage we are testing the capability to have 360-degree live stream cameras on and around a car so that customers can see and talk to a car expert, be immersed in the details of the car and be taken for a test drive in a centralised location through their mobile phone, all from the comfort of their own home.


“We will be working with Spark around this proof of concept to see how we can use the faster speeds and low latency that 5G provides to build a fully immersive virtual reality experience. We have 52 retail outlets around the country and with our wide product range we are not able to have every model available in every store for customers to experience when they want to see more of the vehicle they are after. We would love for customers to be able to go to their local Toyota Store, put on a pair of VR goggles and see a full-size personalised Toyota car drive into their vision, inspect it at every angle and even virtually test drive it in a variety of different landscapes.”