Spark supports major infrastructure upgrades as part of their ongoing growth strategy
With the first phase of Spark's infrastructure asset review complete, further significant infrastructure investments are planned for FY22.
CEO Jolie Hodson says: “We have a clear view of the infrastructure assets that are currently critical to our competitive advantage and resilience, and that we want to invest in – including the ‘active7’ components of our mobile network, multi-access edge compute8, our critical network exchanges, and datacentre capacity.
“We have today announced an additional $35 million investment to accelerate our 5G rollout, bringing our total investment in mobile connectivity to $125 million in FY22 and supporting us to deliver 90% population coverage by the end of calendar year 2023, assuming the necessary spectrum is made available by the Government.
“We will be upgrading our Mayoral Drive exchange and intend to invest in approximately 10MW additional capacity at our Takanini datacentre – which will make it the largest in New Zealand once completed. We are in advanced negotiations to contract at least 60% of this capacity.”
The infrastructure review also identified assets that can be shared, such as the ‘passive7’ components of Spark’s mobile network and fibre. Spark is actively exploring shared ownership models; however, discussions are ongoing and there is no certainty that any transaction will proceed.
Spark continued to grow its position in future markets, with Spark Health supporting the digitisation of the healthcare sector and delivering cloud, telecommunications, and collaboration revenue growth of 10.6%. IoT connections grew to over 450,000, an increase of 83%, and Spark Sport delivered its first cricket season in partnership with NZ Cricket, with 99.9% platform availability and positive reception to the new production format.
Jolie pointed to the strength of Spark’s people in delivering the results: “We have a talented and passionate team at Spark, and I am particularly proud of the progress we made building a high-performing and inclusive culture during the year. We have invested significantly in learning and development to build a culture of innovation and growth, we have grown engagement 10 points9, and we have made solid progress towards our 40/40/20 gender target – with 42% of senior roles outside the Board and Leadership Squad now held by women.
“We continue to focus on how we can support the growth of the digital economy in New Zealand, which will be a critical enabler of productivity and progress in a ‘Covid-normal’ world. We are investing in critical infrastructure, working to build digital skills locally, including the digitisation of small businesses, helping to improve digital equity, and supporting the establishment of a digital trust framework.”