Telstra announced it had switched on 5G technology across selected areas of the Gold Coast, making Australia’s largest and fastest mobile network the first in the country to be 5G ready.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said this was just the beginning of Telstra’s roll out of 5G technology, with more than 200 5G-capable sites planned to be live around the country by the end of 2018.
“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,” Mr 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.
“Today we have switched on 5G-capable sites on the Gold Coast, which enable us to test 5G pre-commercial devices in real world conditions and use unique innovations like our Connected Car to test our 5G footprint. It also means we can connect compatible commercial 5G devices for customers in 5G areas as they become available.
“We know mobility is key for our customers, and 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.”
Telstra’s rollout of 5G is underpinned by around $5 billion in mobile network investment over the three years to 30 June 2019, consistent with previous guidance, to enhance the capacity, capability and reach of Telstra’s network.
This investment is a key element of Telstra’s T22 strategy, which will help Telstra to lead the Australian market by simplifying its operations and product set, improving customer experience and reducing its cost base.
Mr Penn said Telstra’s ongoing network investments were critical as it prepared to lead the market and win in 5G, ensuring Australians were among the first to benefit from the new technology.
“Our T22 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,” Mr Penn said.
“Telstra has a history of innovating and adopting the next generation of wireless technology ahead of the curve. With our mobile network now 5G ready in selected areas, we will continue deploying the technology and developing innovative services and use cases for our customers.”
Telstra is planning a 5G mobile service that will be able to support both sub 6GHz and mmWave spectrum in the future.
The sites that Telstra has turned on using the licensed 3.4GHz spectrum are connected to Telstra’s new modernised production core network which virtualises the various wireless network functions onto common data centre compute hardware.
Telstra’s 5G technology is now using the new virtualised core technologies that has been delivered as part of Telstra’s Networks for the Future program. This includes the integration of the production device management, charging and activation systems into this new flatter and flexible architecture.
Telstra’s 5G network readiness means as soon as compatible 5G commercial devices are made available by the mobile handset and device manufacturers, our network is ready to receive them.