We are at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where Telstra just revealed exactly how and when it plans to "evolve" its wireless network, and rollout 5G to major cities and regional centres throughout 2019.
"5G will help deliver the next industrial revolution, unlocking opportunities across industries and markets and we want to ensure Australians are among the first in the world to gain access to it," Telstra's Chief Operating Officer Robyn Denholm said.
Denholm said 5G will be "a critical building block" in economic competitiveness for Australia, "so we are planning our network rollout to give as many customers as possible access to 5G technology as soon as possible".
"It is not a case of simply flicking a switch in 2019," Denholm stressed.
Telstra is working with Ericsson, Qualcomm and Intel today to develop the end-to-end 5G ecosystem, Denholm says.
"At the same time we are pushing the boundaries of 4G so we can continue to offer Australia’s largest and fastest mobile network and prepare for the 4G and 5G technology layers to integrate in future."
Telstra is planning a 5G mobile service that will be able to support both sub 6GHz and mmWave spectrum.
"In our mmWave tests we are already achieving speeds in excess of 3 Gbps and latency of 6 milliseconds between Gold Coast and Brisbane, so we expect there to be great demand for this unparalleled combination of high speeds and low latency," Ms Denholm said.
Upcoming trials at the 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast will include testing with Ericsson on how 4G and 5G services will be aggregated into a combined service.
"5G will not operate as a standalone technology, at least not for most early use cases. So the quality of the underlying 4G service and how this integrates with 5G will determine the overall mobile experience," Denholm said.
"This will enable the rapid deployment of new 5G speeds enabled by the underlying strength of the existing network."
Here's the full plan/timeline:
- Networks for the Future program begins with approximately $1.5 billion of additional investment above business as usual in Telstra's network over three years to 30 June 2019
- Telstra conducts Australia’s first 5G field trial with Ericsson in Melbourne
- Launch of Telstra’s gigabit-capable 4G service and rollout in CBDs and other high traffic locations in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
- Telstra’s 4G coverage footprint passes 99 per cent of the Australian population
- elstra and Ericsson conduct the world's first 5G outdoor data call over 26GHz 'mmWave' radiofrequency spectrum
- Optical transport technology rolled out in transmission network connecting Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth
- Milestone passed of 90 per cent of Telstra customers with double the original speeds of 4G
- Launch of the Telstra 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast and Australia first test of 5G in a moving vehicle
- Demonstration of 2 Gbps enabled 4G with Qualcomm and Ericsson
- Planned rollout of 2Gbps enabled 4G to "select high traffic locations"
- Planned deployment of more than 1,000 small cells to enhance capacity in metro areas
- 4G and 5G integration trials with Ericsson, Intel and Qualcomm, including first interoperability testing the new 5G Non Stand-Alone Radio (NSA) standard
- Ongoing trials and collaboration with vendor and industry partners at the new 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast
- Global standard setting body, 3GPPS, meeting on the Gold Coast to consider 5G commercial standards
- Telstra plans to offer its first 5G services
- Networks for the Future program concludes at 30 June 2019
Gizmodo Australia attended Mobile World Congress as a a guest of Samsung