Telstra confirmed at CES 2019 that it's been wheeling and dealing with handset makers, announcing it has inked agreements to deliver 5G handsets ahead of the competition. Under the deal, the smartphones will be available exclusively through Telstra before any other Australian mobile operator when they are released in the first half of 2019.
Telstra is keeping mum on which makers and handsets it'll be delivering but by locking up some exclusive deals it's hoping to keep its rivals on the back foot.
The handset news follows an announcement that Ericsson would be its key 5G partner under an agreement that will see the two companies partner to deliver the 5G network.
CEO Andy Penn said “The 5G revolution is now very real. More than 200 Telstra 5G mobile base stations are now online across the nation and our customers will very soon be among the first in the world to experience the possibilities this revolutionary technology can deliver".
5G has already been shown off the HTC 5G Hub suggesting HTC will be amongst those handset makers that have signed on the dotted line with Telstra. And Telstra seems to have a strong relationship with Samsung so the heavily leaked Galaxy 'Beyond X' is also a likely starter with Telstra.
With the rollout of 5G expected to be a $50B business opportunity, Telstra is looking to grab as much of that pie as possible.
In addition to this handset announcement, the company has been investing heavily in IoT through their start-up incubators and other mechanisms. And while being able to stream 4K content to our phones, tablets and laptops is great, the real power of 5G will come from its ability to support billions of connected devices as sensors, actuators and other devices are connected to networks.