5G. It's the fifth generation of mobile network technology, and as we saw with the generations before it, it is being upgraded all the way along to be better and better, all the way until 6G comes in what is presumably a decade's time.
We had 2.5G, 2.75G, 3G, 3.5G, 4G, 4.5G, 4.9G... I remember seeing 3.5G on my Nokia smartphone of the day, which was a definite improvement over 3G speeds. Telstra's 4GX really is a type of 4.5G that is better and faster than regular 4G, as it were, and Vodafone was talking about 4.9G because of its very fast 4G technology at the time, back in 2018.
But this is 2020 - the year that iPhones will finally go 5G, and with every other major phone maker now having 5G models on sale, and 5G modems to trickle down into ever lower price points over the next year and beyond, 5G is no longer a future network but one ever more people will be using - with plenty using 5G already.
- Telstra starting its mmWave 5G trials back in February,
- Telstra claiming its 5G rollout is ahead of schedule covering 47 cities in May,
- Telstra passing new 5G milestones with rollouts in QLD, VIC and TAS in August,
- Telstra and Ericsson smashing its 800MHz mmWave 5G speed record on September 25,
- Telstra launching 5G Home Internet in a targeted way and rolling out major NBN speed improvements on September 29, and
- Telstra showing how much faster its 5G connection is in various suburbs compared with Optus in the first week of October
I criticised Telstra for not including upload speeds in those results while acknowledging that upload speeds are faster than they've ever been, and my colleague Sam Varghese went it even harder in an article entitled "Telstra's 5G speed self-test opens itself up to ridicule".
We've even had the news this morning that Optus has opened up 5G to its wholesale network partners or MVNOs, which we'll hopefully see Telstra do with its MVNO partners soon, too.
That said, the best response is action, and plenty of it, with Telstra continuing to expand its 5G coverage, and now claiming "more than 40% of Australians now live, work or pass through Australia’s leading 5G network as Telstra forges ahead with its rollout in cities, suburbs and regional areas".
Telstra Group Executive, Networks & IT, Nikos Katinakis said Telstra had reached a new national milestone for population coverage as the 5G network roll out picked up pace ahead of major 5G device launches:
Katinakis said: “41% of Australians can now access Telstra 5G – which means more Australians now have the ability to switch to a 5G device and enjoy the benefits,” Mr Katinakis said.
“With a number of major 5G device launches just around the corner, we’re expecting to see the uptake of 5G devices grow significantly and we’re ramping up our efforts to roll out 5G coverage to as many Australians as possible to match.
“Our 5G now covers an area that more than twelve million Australians live, work or pass through on a daily basis, giving them access to a superfast network at a time when connectivity’s never been more important and when there’ll be more 5G devices to choose from than ever.
“We’ve recently announced our intention to roll out Telstra 5G to 75 per cent of the Australian population by the end of June 2021, which will expand our network to even more suburban and regional areas.
“We’ve now rolled out Telstra 5G to selected areas of more than 1,400 suburbs across the country – bringing Telstra 5G closer to more people,” Katinakis continued.
Telstra tells us its 5G network "is now available in selected areas of 383 suburbs in NSW, 331 suburbs in Queensland, 272 suburbs in Victoria, 239 suburbs in SA, 107 suburbs in WA, 80 suburbs in ACT and 51 suburbs in Tasmania."
The company is notes another success, having "switched on its 2000th 5G site, with Airlie Beach in Queensland’s Whitsundays joining more than 60 other cities and towns across the country where Telstra’s 5G roll out is now underway".
Airlie Beach is one of 20 regional areas where Telstra’s 5G roll out has started since mid-2020:
• Nowra, Medowie, Corowa, Cowra, Orange, Malua Bay and Yamba in NSW;
• Paynesville, Wangaratta, Bairnsdale, Corryong and Benalla in Victoria;
• Sunshine Coast, Innisfail and Airlie Beach in Queensland;
• Berri, Pt Elliott and Port Augusta in South Australia and;
• Esperance in Western Australia.
Katinakis added: “Our roll out continues picking up pace and during our busiest week this financial year, in late September 2020, we added more than 60 new 5G sites to Telstra’s mobile network.
“We’ve also rolled out improved in-building 5G coverage to key parts of Westfield Centrepoint, Bondi Junction, Macquarie Shopping Centre, Melbourne Central, Chadstone, Carindale, Chermside, Marion, West Lakes, Carousel Cannington and Booragoon Garden City shopping centres as well as selected areas of the Brisbane, Melbourne and Darling Harbour Convention Centres.
“We’ve made a commitment to roll out the new Telstra 5G network to more areas across metro, regional and rural Australia – and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
“We’re a long way ahead of our competitors because we’re investing more, we’ve got the technology leadership and we want to extend that lead because Australia needs 5G,” Katinakis concluded.
Ultimately, its great news - we'll all soon be enjoying more 5G in more places, making it easier for you to realise that super fast 5G is how we prefer to connect!