Stand by for the battle of the telcos, and the battle for 5G. Every telco is posturing to be seen as the leader in the next generation of mobile with Telstra tonight announcing a 5G enabled “precinct” and connected car trials.

It’s no shock that Telstra’s real-world trials are happening on the Gold Coast, at the same time as a huge sporting event (Commonwealth Games) are about to kick off, and the official Comm Games telco sponsor Optus looks set to make their own announcements.

Telstra’s “5G” offering is not a public test of new mobile phones, it’s a series of Wi-Fi hotspots that are using Telstra’s 5G network to connect.

The Wi-Fi hotspots which Telstra is 5G enabling are on Scarborough and Nerang Streets in Southport.

Telstra’s Group Managing Director Networks Mike Wright signaled Telstra’s plans to be a 5G leader in Australia “We have said we intend to lead on 5G and with these 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots Australian
consumers will be among the first people in the world to try the technology,” Mr Wright said.

“Taking 5G technology out of a lab and into the hands of consumers is another key milestone on
Telstra’s roadmap to offering 5G services in 2019.”

Those connecting to the hotspots will have a 10GB download limit per day per device.

Users within WiFi range of the hotspots can connect any WiFi devices to the network, and experience 5G speeds, though it will be far from the experience 5G mobile phones might offer in the future.

“Wi-Fi has limited throughput so a single hotspot alone cannot come close to reaching the limits of 5G
at our Innovation Centre. By using multiple hotspots with potentially hundreds of smartphone users
served through a single 5G device we are able to get closer to demonstrating 5G in a real world
environment,” Mr Wright said.

“Our 5G backhaul is capable of delivering download speeds of more than 3 Gbps, which is capable of
supporting around 1,000 HD movies being streamed simultaneously.”

What this means is that the hotspot itself might be capable of 3Gbps, which would then be divided up into the individual devices at speeds they are capable of.

Essentially, Imagine a payphone with a WiFi hotspot in it – that is connected back to Telstra’s network using 5G wireless technology – so that’s the extend of the 5G experience.

There’s also a trial being conducted of a Connected Car with Intel 5G Automotive technology on-board.

“Working with global technology companies Ericsson and Intel, we have put Australia’s first 5G
Connected Car on the road. We are in the very early stages of development and are achieving
download speeds approaching 1 Gbps inside the car and the vehicle is also equipped with a Wi-Fi
access point,” Mr Wright said.

Telstra has invested $60 million to upgrade infrastructure on the Gold Coast to support the local area and it’s network testing centre in the area.