This week Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) went live with its first 5G trial areas in Sydney. The telco is using 700MHz spectrum at a number of 5G-ready sites around the Parramatta area. In addition to being the only major company to confirm that it won’t charge extra for 5G in Australia, it will also offer global 5G roaming… if and when we’re allowed to leave the country again.
Vodafone is using Nokia’s AirScale equipment across the test sites, which provides low-band NR700MHz spectrum — the first of its kind in both Australian and the Asia-Pacific region.
“We are proud to be showcasing this innovative use of the lowest band spectrum available in Australia with the first live test deployment of 5G on low-band 700Mhz spectrum in our region,” said VHA’s CEO IÃ±aki Berroeta in a statement.
“Our partnership with Nokia has enabled us to deliver an innovative solution with our customers’ experience front of mind. Incorporating 700Mhz spectrum will complement our existing 5G network plans and help deliver the benefits of 5G’s speed, capacity and coverage.”
According to the statement from VHA and Nokia, the 700Mhz spectrum will improve the company’s network and indoor coverage, as well as deliver high speec 5G connectivity.
“Combined with its 5G spectrum in the 3.5Ghz band, VHA will be equipped to deliver a compelling combination of speed, capacity and coverage to its customers.”
To access Vodafone’s new 5G network you will need a 5G capable device, a Vodafone postpaid contract and to actually be in one of the freshly switched on sites. This last one may be a little difficult as the exact locations haven’t been disclosed — we just know they’re around Parramatta. However, this coverage map gives us a rough idea:
And at least this is just the beginning of a larger roll out nationwide.
Vodafone initially confirmed its entry into the 5G market in late 2020. The telco confirmed to Gizmodo Australia that it would not charge customers extra to connect to its 5G network. Five months later Vodafone is still the only major telco in Australia to have made this commitment publicly. Optus hasn’t ruled out charging for 5G and Telstra will begin charging customers for the service on June 30, unless they are connected to one of its two top-tier plans.
Over the past few weeks there has been an alarming uptick in social media posts linking coronavirus to the 5G rollout. Some draw comparisons between the new mobile network and the spread of the virus itself. Others claim the virus is a manufactured ruse to force people inside while the government fast tracks the construction of more 5G towers. Unlike other 5G theories, these posts aren't merely relegated to the bowels of Reddit and fringe Facebook groups. They're gaining mainstream traction and enjoying pronounced plausibility thanks to celebrity endorsements. They have now gained enough traction to manifest real world violence.Read more