Telstra has switched on 5G technology across selected areas of the Gold Coast in Queensland, claiming the move made the telco’s mobile network the first in Australia to be 5G ready.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said this was just the beginning of Telstra’s rollout of 5G technology, with some 200 5G-capable sites planned to be live around the country by year’s end.
“Today’s switch on demonstrates Telstra’s commitment to mobile leadership in Australia and will support the ongoing testing of next generation mobile technologies in Australian conditions to support the early commercial deployment of 5G mobile services,” Penn said.
“Telstra has already achieved a number of significant milestones in preparation for 5G. In February we launched Telstra’s 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast which has since been home to several world and Australian firsts including the world’s first precinct of 5G-enabled WiFi hotspots, Australia’s first 5G Connected Car, and the world’s first end-to-end 5G non-standalone data call on a commercial mobile network,” he added.
“Today we have switched on 5G-capable sites on the Gold Coast, enabling us to test 5G precommercial devices in real world conditions and use unique innovations like our Connected Car to test our 5G footprint,” Penn explained. “It also means we can connect compatible commercial 5G devices for customers in 5G areas as they become available.”
Penn said mobility wa key for the telco’s customers. “That’s why we are focussed on delivering a 5G mobile service first and foremost. Over the coming months we will continue expanding our 5G coverage with plans to roll out to more capital cities, regional centres and other high demand areas,” he said.
Telstra is planning a 5G mobile service that will be able to support both sub 6GHz and mmWave spectrum in the future. The sites it has turned on using the licensed 3.6GHz spectrum are connected to Telstra’s new modernised production core network which virtualises the various wireless network functions onto common data centre compute hardware.
The firm’s 5G deployment is underpinned by around A$5 billion in mobile network investment over the three years to 30 June 2019, which it noted is consistent with previous guidance, to improve the capacity, capability and reach of the mobile network.
Penn said Telstra’s ongoing network investments were critical as it prepared to lead the market and win in 5G.
“Our… strategy will be underpinned by our aim to have the largest, fastest, safest, smartest and most reliable next generation network, and these ongoing investments will ensure we continue to deliver market leading innovation in networks,” Penn said.