Two weeks after Telstra revealed it had completed a live trial of a superfast 5G mobile network, Optus has announced it will be working with Nokia to collaborate on 5G. The telco hopes this partnership will help it beat its rivals to launching a 5G network in Australia and will be running tests using its 3500MHz spectrum. Here’s what you need to know.
Optus and Nokia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate on 5G research that would eventually lead to the overhaul of the telco’s existing 4G network.
As more devices are built to connect to the internet, wireless and mobile internet technologies need to improve to keep up with bandwidth demands. 5G is seen as the next evolution of mobile internet technology and will dramatically increase data transfer speeds across mobile networks. Currently, telcos mainly use 4G LTE technology for their mobile networks.
Telstra’s 5G test last month managed to hit download speeds of more than 20Gbps, 200 times faster than the maximum speed of the National Broadband Network (NBN).
“The test bed used 800 MHz of spectrum in a previously unattainable, high frequency band, which is 10 times more spectrum than we use with our 4G service,” Telstra said.
Optus and Nokia will be running 5G tests using the telco’s 3500MHz spectrum, a globally harmonised band by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for mobile usage. Optus and Nokia will undertake an early 5G prototype in Optus’s band in Australia by 2017.
But the pair have already been running closed tests in Sydney on a new 5G radio test bed on Nokia Airscale product which showed the speeds were capable of supporting the delivery of virtual reality video content.
“There is a global race to explore and develop 5G technology, and in Australia, Optus is well positioned to lead in this space with our ownership of 3.5GHz, and close partnerships with our vendors including Nokia,” Tay Soo Meng, group CTO for Optus’ parent company Singtel said.