Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn said enabling 5G sites in both Melbourne and Sydney meant Telstra now had 5G-enabled sites in all major cities across the country – “the first provider in Australia to do so”.
“This is a crucial component of our plans to bring 5G services to as many of our customers as possible once 5G compatible devices are commercially available next year, and another significant milestone in expanding its 5G coverage to capital cities, regional centres and other high demand areas,” he said.
Telstra, Australia’s largest telco, says the upgrades at its Customer Insight Centre in Sydney, a mobile base station near Sydney Airport, and Telstra Labs in Melbourne — along with another mobile base station near Melbourne Airport coming online later this week — completed its 187 5G upgrades across the country.
Since then Telstra has enabled 5G sites in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart, Launceston, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast.
And last week Telstra successfully secured between 30-80 MHz nationwide in the 3.6 GHz spectrum auction held by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Combined with existing holdings, Telstra now has 60 MHz of contiguous 5G spectrum in all major capital cities and between 50-80 MHz of contiguous 5G spectrum in regional areas.
“5G is expected to completely transform the mobile landscape and Telstra will continue to lead and bring this technology to Australians first,” Penn said.
"Today’s announcement means there are now 187 sites around Australia that have been 5G-enabled with another 13 to be upgraded before the end of this calendar year.
“This series of network upgrades is not only making Telstra’s mobile network 5G ready but is also expected to help deliver world leading 4G speeds.
“Over the coming months Telstra will continue expanding its 5G coverage with plans to roll out the technology and grow coverage to more cities, regional centres and high traffic areas.”
Tuesday’s announcement follows Telstra’s first customer connection with a commercial 5G device on its 5G service. Toowoomba-based FKG Group will use the first iteration of the HTC 5G Hub mobile broadband device to test the device’s connectivity to the network, which as the device evolves, will allow exploration of transport, logistics and agribusiness use cases.
Telstra says the rollout of 5G is the culmination of the company’s investment of around $8 billion in its mobile network over the five years to 30 June 2019 to enhance the capacity, capability and reach of the network.