Friday Fry Up: Should Kiwis buy a 5G phone?, It’s becoming a (misshapen) W recovery, Legacy from the last recession

Friday Fry Up is Computerworld New Zealand’s weekly look at the world of IT.

NZ friday fry up logo
Getty Images

Should you buy a 5G phone?

It’s the question of 2020 (well OK, a question for IT folk once they’ve answered the millions of other questions from users this year in the move to mass working from home): Should I buy a 5G phone?

It was brought to the fore by Apple’s latest iPhone announcement and the very big deal that was made about 5G. Should you believe the hype? Judging from the traffic to the Computerworld story “Why 5G phones aren’t a smart investment in the future (yet)”, that’s actually the information our readers are after.

Of course, to get the most out of a 5G-capable phone, there has to be a 5G network out there. Also, what exactly is 5G anyway? That last question may or may not be on a par with ‘what is the meaning of life’ because, quite honestly, the answers can seem both infinite and hard to pin down.

But at Fry Up we try. The really blistering 5G speeds are enabled by mmWave technology deployed over multiple cell sites in targeted areas. So, we asked the New Zealand operators that have 5G networks to give us an update on when we can expect that capability in Aotearoa.

Spark’s 5G network currently uses frequencies around 3.5GHz (band 78, or C band) in Auckland and Palmerston North, and around 2.6GHz (band 41) in its South Island locations. “Millimetre waves encompass frequencies higher than 26GHz and will be made available when the government holds its spectrum auction,” a spokesperson told us.

Vodafone, meanwhile, is using 3.5GHz spectrum for its 5G deployments, as a spokesperson pointed out: “There are a few elements that require this [mmWave] from a technology standpoint, including that the government needs to allocate spectrum in the 600MHz band (which I understand involves freeing up and reallocating this spectrum).”

Vodafone also issued a press release this week announcing it had put in place 5G roaming agreements in Australia, Taiwan, Latvia, and Finland. This is despite the fact that almost no one can leave the country and, even if we could, Latvia just isn’t on most people’s travel list. These points were even acknowledged in the release. You really do have to admire the enthusiasm.

It’s becoming a (misshapen) W recovery, fingers crossed

In July, at Fry Up we got a bit excited by Stats NZ’s COVID-19 data portal, and in particular the peculiarly named NZAC index (the acronym stands for New Zealand Activity index), which is drawn from a variety of data sources and gives an indication of the economy’s performance. We had our fingers crossed for a V-shaped economic recovery (sharp dip and then a return to pre-COVID conditions). But, it currently looks more like a warped W, and that’s OK.

nz activity index sept 2020 Stats NZ

The New Zealand Activity Monitor from November 2018 through September 2020, with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic clearly visible. Source: Treasury, Stats NZ, Reserve Bank & various 

Stats NZ has been on a major digital transformation journey, which has put the organisation in a good place to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. Over at our sister publication CIO, you can read about Stats NZ’s wider programme of work in an interview with Chief Digital Officer Chris Buxton. Stats NZ’s mahi (work) includes working with iwi leaders on co-designing a Māori data sovereignty framework. This could potentially have implications beyond our shores and be useful for indigenous communities globally.

Legacy from the last recession

In IT, the word ‘legacy’ stirs mixed emotions. Yes, there is something very special about coming across a PalmPilot buried at the bottom of a drawer and remembering those carefree PDA days. But dealing with legacy IT systems can be a nightmare.

One phrase that everyone, outside the finance department, probably wishes could be consigned to past is the dreaded “do more with less”. It popped up during the 2008 recession and has simply refused to pop down again. (Also, the ghastly “new normal” but we’re letting that one remain on account of it being a useful way of describing the current environment.)

So it is with some trepidation that we provide you with Gartner’s rules for ‘rapid IT cost reduction’. The global analyst firm this week held its annual conference and, in common with all global firms, held it online. Without further ado, here are the top five ‘cost optimisation’ tips on the list:

  1. Target immediate impact (cut out as many weekly/monthly expenses as you can)
  2. Reduce, don’t freeze (lower the cost of the service rather than eliminating it altogether)
  3. Cash is king (always!)
  4. Plan to do it once (one deep cut is kinder than a succession of shallow ones)
  5. Carefully inspect accounts (get closer to finance)

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon