2019 is set to be the year of 5G, and Optus has officially kicked of proceedings today in Canberra.
The telco has announced Australia's first 5G home broadband plan, as well as which suburbs will be the first to get it.
As of today 5G sites are live in two ACT suburbs - Dickson and Manuka. An additional 48 sites across the ACT, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia are expected to be online by March 2019, with the number jumping to 1,200 by March 31 2020.
"This is an historic day for Optus as we begin our exciting 5G journey with the announcement of Optus’ 5G Home Broadband service,” Optus Chief Executive Allen Lew said.
"We will have more 5G sites going live across Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Sydney over the coming months giving a select group of customers the chance to get their hands on our 5G Home Broadband devices in areas of selected suburbs.
We will open the service up to more customers and more locations as more devices are released and our 5G cells continue to roll-out."
Optus originally trialed 5G in partnership with Huawei in April 2018. However, the Chinese vendor's ban from Australia's 5G network back in August raised the question of who Optus would turn to for equipment.
It was speculated that Nokia would be tapped for the build, which was confirmed today. The Finnish company will be supplying Optus with its 5G RAN and Fastmile 5G CPEs.
Optus will be the first in the world to access Nokia's 5G home device, but its expected to be rolled out to other 5G suppliers in the future.
It will be available from Optus in the coming months.
In what seems to be a challenge to the NBN, Optus has stated that its 5G home broadband is ultra high-speed and designed for multi-platform experience, calling out its HD gaming and 4K streaming capabilities.
Optus has also said that the multi-year 5G build will also include upgrades and new mobile sites through small cell solutions that won't necessarily involve Nokia.
"We will continue to adopt a multi-vendor approach to our network technology infrastructure that will drive innovation and competition, which is critical to Optus’ DNA."
Mr Lew also confirmed that the initial 1,200 planned sites will include areas with high mobile congestion, such as CBDs, airports, trains stations and stadiums.
For anyone interested in jumping on the 5G train as soon as possible, Optus will be giving select customers the chance to be part of the initial wave of users.
The telco will be implementing this through an Expressions of Interest campaign in 60 select suburbs.
When it comes to pricing, Optus has announced only one plan so far - $70 per month for unlimited data with a guaranteed minimum speed of 50Mbps.
It's unclear when Optus if and when Optus resellers will have access to the 5G network.
We are also waiting on more details in regards to Optus' plans for 5G mobile phone services. Much like Telstra, the telco has announced that it is talks with manufacturers, but with no specific details as yet.
“When Optus customers have 5G compatible handsets in areas with Optus 5G network coverage they will also be able to experience 5G services on-the-go. We are working with a range of smartphone manufacturers and will announce details about 5G smartphone handset availability and plans in the future," said Mr Lew
The author traveled to Canberra as a guest of Optus.