After many months of chest beating and network announcements, 5G testing took a big leap forward today on the Gold Coast with Telstra testing a commercial 5G chip on their 5G network.

While the network has been in development now for some time, the reality is there’s been no commercial device available in the market.

With 2019 set to be the year where the first 5G devices are announced – although it’s unlikely that will include Apple and Samsung on their flagship phones, it’s a critical time now to test the components that make it all work.

Telstra, along with their network partners Ericsson have been testing the network side of things – or the towers, while Qualcomm – one of the biggest mobile chip manufacturers have now put into a “form factor device” – that is, not a real commercial phone, but a working prototype – a 5G chipset.

Telstra’s Network Engineering Executive Channa Seneviratne said, “Telstra’s strategic relationship with these global industry partners allows Telstra to test, understand and demonstrate real world 5G capability so we can advance the deployment of 5G and immediately bring it to our customers as soon as devices are commercially available.

“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone as it signals that commercial 5G devices are getting closer and closer. Field testing in our real-world mobile network with this chipset over our commercial spectrum moves the verification well and truly from the lab into the street. The team will continue testing over the coming months to improve data rates and overall performance in readiness for device availability. “

The test used Telstra’s 3.5Ghz commercial spectrum and included Australia’s first live 5G 3GPP R15 data call using a commercial chipset – nerdy, but cool.