One giant leap taken for One NZ coverage with SpaceX ‘cell tower in sky’ satellite launch

Launch paves the way for coverage like never before from late 2024; One NZ partners with global telcos to provide satellite roaming

“It’s a hugely exciting milestone in providing coverage like never before and represents years of innovation from SpaceX that will directly benefit all New Zealanders,” says One NZ CEO Jason Paris.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket lifted off successfully from Space Launch Complex 4E in California at Vandenberg Space Force Base on Tuesday, January 2nd, taking 6 SpaceX’s Direct to Cell Starlink satellites into space. The Starlink satellites contain custom silicon ‘phased arrays’ that will allow them to communicate directly with most current smart phones on the ground.

Live testing will take place in Aotearoa later this year, with One NZ’s network team preparing with SpaceX in advance. Coverage from SpaceX will complement One NZ’s 4G and 5G mobile networks, which have been awarded New Zealand’s ‘Best in Test’ mobile network by global leader in mobile testing umlaut, part of Accenture for two years running. One NZ mobile coverage currently covers 99% of NZ’s population.

One NZ today also announced it will be joining a ‘global alliance’ of telcos to provide reciprocal satellite roaming for its customers, meaning One NZ customers can stay connected via satellite when roaming to partner countries.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with global telcos in the USA, Australia and beyond, to provide satellite coverage when roaming. Kiwis love to explore, and this means we’ll have you covered at home or when you’re travelling.” said Paris.

The plan is for reciprocal roaming to be available across USA (T-Mobile), Australia (Optus), Canada (Rogers), Japan (KDDI), Switzerland (Salt), with more telcos expected to join the alliance before service launch.

It’s not just about travel, One NZ believes its collaboration with SpaceX will keep Kiwis safer, both here and around the world.

“With the increase in climate change related impacts to our network, we’re delighted to be adding this layer of resilience for our customers. As we saw with Starlink providing backhaul and connectivity during Cyclone Gabrielle back in February, satellite can be a useful backup should the terrestrial cell network not be available.”

“Whether you’re travelling the world, or exploring our incredible natural environment at home, if you’re with One NZ, you’ll have the ability to connect with loved ones.”


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