The 5G wave is well and truly heading towards the shore, with Telstra announcing testing of the next generation of 5G is set to begin trials ahead of the next generation of 5G phones and devices hitting our shores later this year. Telstra has also been working on extending the distance at which consumers on the 4GX network can make calls.
5G mmWave trials starting
Telstra is on track to deliver 5G into 35 cities by mid-year, with 32 major and regional cities already online with more than 4 million customers passing through every day.
Moving forward with next-gen 5G, Telstra will begin trialling mmWave 5G technology thanks to scientific licenses being made available through the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). With their mmWave trial, Telstra will also allow the more than 100,000 customers who have taken up 5G plans already to access it, though this will be limited at launch.
The Telstra mmWave network will operate on the 26GHz bands, with a spectrum auction for this set to take place in early 2021. Telstra says the 26GHz band is set to become one of the most prevalent spectrum bands for mmWave 5G in the world, with countries in Europe and Asia adopting the band making for easier access to devices going forward.
Early access to the mmWave 5G technology will be a boon for customers says Telstra CEO Andy Penn:
Not only will customers be able to enjoy trying out the benefits of mmWave in selected areas early, it means we will be on the front foot when spectrum is made available via the auction in 2021.
Traditionally carriers have chased lower bands for their spectrum due to improved propagation, allowing for higher speeds and low latency, but with mmWave 5G Telstra expects to improve their already impressive 5G speeds (up to 1.1Gbps) as well as improving capacity and lowering latency, all of which is useful for IoT devices and more.
To kick off the mmWave 5G trial Telstra will be launching Australia’s first mmWave 5G-enabled device, the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro, around mid-year. No details on pricing for the device have been released as yet, but we’ll see more on that closer to the time of customer trials.To kick off the mmWave 5G trial Telstra will be launching Australia’s first mmWave 5G-enabled device, the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro, around mid-year.
As well as the hotspot, Telstra is also looking at phones as well. There are already number of devices supporting mmWave 5G already on the market and Telstra is looking at all of them, so expect announcements on this front soon.
There’s also the looming spectre of whether Apple will launch a 5G enabled phone this year, which Telstra expects would push adoption of 5G in Australia.
Extended range 4G Calls now available
While 5G is getting the headlines, Telstra and network equipment provider Ericsson announced they’ve also completed their first extended reach 4G call.
Telstra and Ericsson have previously achieved a 200km range phone call on their 3G network back in 2007, and now they’re doing it with 5G.
Previously Telstra was able to complete calls at a range of up to 100km, but Telstra and Ericsson now have the option for up to deliver calls up to 200km, effectively doubling the current 3GPP standards limit.
The extension of range is important in the Australian market thanks to our vast geographic footprint. The extended range is expected to benefit Australians in primary industry such as mining and agriculture, as well as Australians living in remote areas.
Telstra pushing 5G
As one of the market leaders here in Australia, Telstra is committed to building out and improving both their upcoming 5G network, as well as the existing 4G network.
Telstra at this stage has more than 100,000 customers on their burgeoning 5G network. They’re continuing to improve their 5G service by engaging with those customers to find out how they’re utilising the 5G connection and how it’s performing.
We’ll see more details on which markets will be trialling the mmWave 5G technology in the coming months, so stay tuned.