Australia’s Optus has revealed plans to begin the rollout of 5G technology by early 2019, with it aiming to deploy a fixed-wireless product in key metro areas. In a press release regarding the matter, the company noted that its plans in this area come following the launch of a successful outdoor trial for 5G New Radio (NR), in which it recorded downlink speeds of 2Gbps using a ‘potential device for a fixed wireless service in the home and business’. Optus said that throughout the trial both C-band and mmWave frequencies – which it called ‘global pioneer bands for 5G’ – had been incorporated, with these reported to have delivered low latency and extreme speeds. In terms of its next steps, the mobile network operator (MNO) has confirmed that during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games it will host a 5G technology showcase.
Commenting on the company’s plans, Optus managing director of networks, Dennis Wong, said: ‘By successfully testing commercial grade customer equipment, we’re able to pave the way for Optus to begin testing 5G technologies from a consumer perspective. We continue to be involved in the fine tuning of the customer equipment with our partner Huawei, to ensure that the equipment meets the standards as they are being endorsed.’
Meanwhile, rival MNO Telstra has announced the opening of its ‘5G Innovation Centre’ at its Southport Exchange on the Gold Coast, confirming it will test next generation mobile technologies with a view to supporting the commercial deployment of 5G services. Telstra noted that the money it has spent on the centre comes as part of its plan to invest AUD5 billion (USD3.9 billion) in the three years to 30 June 2019 to ‘upgrade and expand its mobile infrastructure, acquire spectrum and lay the foundations for 5G’.
According to Telstra’s Chief Operations Officer, Robyn Denholm: ‘Telstra has already conducted Australia’s first 5G field trial and the world’s first 5G outdoor data call over 26GHz ‘mmWave’ radiofrequency 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.’