Telstra just announced that it has turned on 5G through selected regions of the Gold Coast, making it the first mobile network in the country to start rolling out 5G.
Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said this was just the beginning and that the telco plans to have over 200 5G capable sites live by the end of 2018.
Telstra is planning for its 5G network to support both sub 6GHz and mmWave spectrum in the future. The sites turned on are using the licensed 3.4Hz spectrum and are connected to Telstra’s new production core network which virtualises the various wireless network functions onto common data centre computer hardware.
"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," Mr Penn said.
"Telstra has already achieved a number of significant milestones in preparation for 5G. In February we launched Telstra’s 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast which has since been home to several world and Australian firsts including the world’s first precinct of 5G-enabled WiFi hotspots, Australia’s first 5G Connected Car, and the world’s first end-to-end 5G non-standalone data call on a commercial mobile network.
"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. It also means we can connect compatible commercial 5G devices for customers in 5G areas as they become available.
"We know mobility is key for our customers, and that’s why we are focused on delivering a 5G mobile service first and foremost.
"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."
The rollout is backed by a $5 billion investment over three years by the telco that has been used to enhance the capacity, capability and reach of the network. It has also been a central element of Telstra's T22 strategy which aims to simplify its operations and produce set. It will also reduce its cost base, which will inevitably involve job losses.