Telstra has just announced Australia’s first ever millimetre wave (mmWave) capable 5G portable hotspot — the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro. Before you get too excited it’s worth remembering that mmWave probably won’t be widely available for a couple of years. In fact, mmWave spectrum won’t be going to auction until 2021. So while it will support 5G at launch, it won’t be reaching its full potential.
5G Hotspot specs
The Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro comes with a 2.4-inch colour touch screen that tracks your data usage, as well as gigabit ethernet and USB ports.
The 4,500mAH battery is said to last up to 9 hours and contain quick charge. In terms of devices it can support up to 30 at once — 15 each across 2.4 and 5 GHz.
In addition to 5G it also supports 4G and 850MHz 3G. This means that it will still be usable in non-5G areas.
5G mmWave coverage
While the Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro will support other 5G bands such as sub-6 at launch (as long as its available in your area) you won’t get mmWave unless you happen to be within reach of one of Telstra’s testing sites. At the present time the telco has three cross the country — one in Sydney and two on the Gold Coast.
For everyone else, you’ll be waiting awhile for those extra fast speeds.
Back in 2019 Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, made a declaration for spectrum re-allocation under the Radiocommunications Act. This allowed the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to re-allocate spectrum across 29 cities and regional centres across Australia.
This freed up spectrum which will enable the government to auction off 2.4GHz of the 26GHz mmWave spectrum. But this won’t be happening until early 2021.
So while Telstra does have early testing access to mmWave and will undoubtedly begin rolling it our further after the auction in 2021, there is no guarantee when customers will have access to it.
On the one hand, this does future proof the device and in the meantime, it can still access lower band 5G in areas that have access — as well as 4G and 3G. This still makes it a solution for homes without NBN access or for people who want a high powered portable hotspot.
On the other hand, you’ll probably be able to pick it up for cheaper once mmWave is properly accessible.
Price and availability
The Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro launches today and costs $600, or $24.95 per month across 24 months.