Telstra upgraded existing infrastructure to 5G in the cities of Adelaide, Perth and Canberra

Australian operator Telstra said it has selected Ericsson as its key partner for the deployment of 5G technology.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said the carrier is already rolling out 5G technology in its network, with the technology switched on for the first time in Adelaide, Perth and Canberra.

“Telstra has a history of investing ahead of the technology curve to ensure we have the latest capabilities in place to serve our customers. We’re proud to partner with Ericsson to pioneer 5G technology in this country and to ensure that together we continue to deliver market leading innovation in networks,” Penn said.

“Together we have put in place the fundamentals that will enable Telstra to succeed in 5G. Through our extensive collaborative efforts, we will ensure Australia is at the cutting edge of mobile technology,” said Ericsson President and CEO Börje Ekholm.

In late 2017, Telstra and Ericsson completed what they claimed to be the world’s first 5G trial data call over millimeter wave spectrum using Telstra’s production core network. With the new activations in Adelaide, Perth and Canberra, Telstra has now upgraded 50 base stations to 5G technology across the country. Other locations include Brisbane, Toowoomba and the Gold Coast.

In February, Telstra opened a 5G innovation center 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. Telstra has said it aims to launch commercial 5G services in Australia in 2019.

The carrier said its 5G center is designed to enable collaboration among technology vendors, developers, start-ups and the operator’s enterprise customers. At the time of the opening, the carrier announced plans to conduct 5G field trials in the coming months in and around the Gold Coast.

Rival operator NBN Co., which is currently rolling out the country’s National Broadband Network (NBN), is also working with Ericsson in a number of 5G trials in the city of Melbourne. The operator will use 100 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band for the 5G trial, as well as Ericsson’s 5G New Radio equipment.

Earlier this year, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) had announced it will award spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band for the provision of 5G services in November. The regulator confirmed that it will be auctioning off 125 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band. The spectrum will be divided into 350 lots across 14 regions of Australia.

The regulator also said that the auction will include a spectrum cap, whereby each bidder is limited to 60 megahertz of spectrum in urban areas and 80 megahertz in rural areas.

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