Wednesday, 15 August 2018 12:54

Telstra switches on 5G on the Gold Coast

By
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn Telstra CEO Andrew Penn

Telstra has activated its — and Australia's — first 5G services, covering parts of the Gold Coast.

"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," said chief executive Andrew Penn.

"It also means we can connect compatible commercial 5G devices for customers in 5G areas as they become available."

5G devices are expected to arrive in 2019.

The announcement follows Telstra's Australian-first live trial of 5G around two years ago, its March 2018 launch of a series of Wi-Fi hotspots on the Gold Coast connected to the Internet via 5G, and its first end-to-end 5G call in July 2018.

Telstra's mobile network is the first in Australia to be 5G ready, the telco claimed.

"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," said Penn.

Significant attention has been given to the possibility of telcos using 5G networks to provide fixed wireless services as a way of bypassing the NBN, but Penn appeared to rule this out of Telstra's short- to medium-term strategy.

"We know mobility is key for our customers, and that's why we are focused on delivering a 5G mobile service first and foremost," he said.

More than 200 5G-capable sites are planned to be live around Australia by the end of 2018.

"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," said Penn.

The investment in 5G and other mobile technologies is part of Telstra's T22 strategy, which aims to simplify the company's operations and product set, reduce its costs, and improve its customers' experiences.

"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," said Penn.

"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."

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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