Eden Park gets mobile makeover ahead of controversial Six60 concert

Author
Chris Keall, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 23 Apr 2021, 3:08PM
5G was initially only available in the most expensive phones, but is now supported by mid-range models like Samsung's $699 A52 5G (pictured) and Xiaomi's $399 Redmi Note 9T 5G. Photo / File
5G was initially only available in the most expensive phones, but is now supported by mid-range models like Samsung's $699 A52 5G (pictured) and Xiaomi's $399 Redmi Note 9T 5G. Photo / File

Eden Park gets mobile makeover ahead of controversial Six60 concert

Author
Chris Keall, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 23 Apr 2021, 3:08PM

Eden Park hasn't always been the happiest venue for uploading smartphone clips to Facebook - especially if there's anything close to a full-house of 50,000, and many are trying to do the same.

Now, Spark says it's teamed with the trust that runs the ground to make it NZ's first stadium with 5G coverage - and that it will be ready for Six60's ground-breaking concert on Saturday night. Or, at least, three-quarters of it will be.

But Spark customers in the neighbourhood around the stadium who have been hanging out for 5G will probably be out of luck - at least with this segment of the rollout.

"It covers only a few adjacent streets but the antennas are located inside the stadium, for the stadium so there's not a lot of overflow," a Spark spokesperson says.

Spark's 5G rollout in Auckland has so far been restricted to the CBD, and parts of Devonport, Milford and Takapuna (which got an early foot in the door thanks to the America's Cup)

By Saturday, Spark says it will have 5G available over some 75 per cent of Eden Park: the East and West Stand, the No.1 Field, the lower South Stand and part of the lower North Stand, with the view of expanding this further over the coming months.

Rival Vodafone has 5G sites in the area, but according to its coverage map, it only catches about a third of Eden Park including the West Stand and parts of the North Stand.

2degrees, which recently dumped Huawei for Ericsson, says it will begin its 5G rollout late this year.

"Currently, most events held in New Zealand are in 4G coverage which can experience congestion, such as buffering, when huge crowds of people are located in one place," Spark says.

"Because 5G has more capacity and is the fastest and most reliable wireless technology available the immediate benefit for fans with a 5G compatible device who attend Eden Park will be the ability to share content with little to no buffering and considerably faster speeds than 4G."

Like Vodafone, Spark is hatching plans for 5G to one day enable a remote-viewing fan experience.

"Over the coming years, as we continue to upgrade and roll out 5G. With additional spectrum it's likely these speeds will increase, as well as open up brand-new ways to experience live events. For example, being able to watch a sold-out sporting match with front-row virtual tickets from the comfort of your own home," Spark says.

Some would point out that's what you get from a TV broadcast, but a 5G remove-viewing experience could include choose-your-own camera angles, or a virtual reality headset.

Spark says a 5G-enabled "smart stadium" could also reduce the time waiting in a queue for drinks and food with artificial intelligence self-service checkout.