Telstra to launch commercial 5G services in Australia during 2019

Australian telecommunications company Telstra has opened a 5G innovation centre in the Gold Coast region. Telstra said the main aim of the new 5G center will be to test next-generation technologies to support the early commercial deployment of 5G mobile services in Australia, which telco aims to launch commercial 5G services in Australia in 2019.

The 5G center is central to a $58 million investment Telstra has made to upgrade infrastructure on the Gold Coast to support growing demand and major events in the area. Telstra will run extensive 5G trials on the Gold Coast during the Commonwealth Games in April this year.

“Telstra has already conducted Australia’s first 5G field trial and the world’s first 5G outdoor data call over 26GHz millimeter wave radio frequency spectrum.  From our new 5G innovation centre we will be completing a number of 5G firsts in 2018 to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of mobile technology,” Telstra’s Chief Operations Officer Robyn Denholm, said.

“5G has the potential to transform the way we all live and work. 5G will take us from a world of connecting people to each other and the internet to a world of ultra-fast mobile speeds and the Internet of Things on a mass scale.  These enhancements will unleash a host of new opportunities – everything from smart cities and smart homes, to drones and driverless cars, to augmented reality in both entertainment and at work.”

Telstra’s 5G center is designed to enable collaboration among technology vendors, developers, start-ups and the operator’s enterprise customers. Telstra said it will also conduct 5G field trials in the coming months in and around the Gold Coast.

“We look forward to hosting leading 5G developers from around the world so Australian businesses can begin developing products and services that will take advantage of 5G.  Our activities at the 5G innovation centre will culminate in the 3GPP meeting later in 2018 that will play a critical role in setting the 5G standards underpinning the launch of commercial services,” Denholm said.

Telstra highlighted that the current 5G demonstrations and use cases include:

-A 5G field trial using a moving vehicle demonstrating how the high bandwidth and low latency of 5G can deliver an immersive view from the driver’s perspective via virtual reality headsets and support autonomous driving.

-A speed test of around 3 Gbps down and 300 Mbps up over millimeter wave spectrum demonstrating the speed and capacity that will be achieved over 5G and how that will support advanced multimedia applications such as augmented and virtual reality.

-How drones enabled with artificial intelligence can support surf lifesaving and be operated on a mass scale by 5G beam forming technology targeting each drone.

-A robotic arm demonstrating how the ultra-low latency of 5G can support a range of industrial applications requiring precise control.

Telstra previously said that said that it would work with Ericsson on key 5G technologies including massive multiple-input, multiple-output (Massive MIMO), adaptive beamforming and beam tracking, and OFDM-based waveforms in its Gold Coast center.

In 2016, Ericsson and Telstra had achieved download speeds of between 18 Gbps and 22 Gbps during the first live trial of 5G in Australia, with the trials conducted in a real-world outdoor environment using Ericsson’s 5G radio testbed, Massive MIMO, and beam forming.

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