Australia has taken the first step towards a national 5G digital transition, with Telstra’s new mobile network launching across the country to “improve speed and connectivity” like never before.
Announced at Telstra’s flagship store in Sydney, the long anticipated network was launched through two new products that have since gone live in selective suburbs across Australia.
TELSTRA STRIKES FIRST
This new 5G enabled device pairs with the new Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, and will be available through Telstra before any other Australian mobile operator.
It’s the world’s first 5G hotspot and can be used both plugged in or unplugged on the go. Australia is just the third country across the world where Samsung has launched the Galaxy S10 5G.
The HTC Hub is geared for use as a wireless hotspot and brings the Telstra network into the home with an onboard battery, allowing for portability to enjoy the 4G and 5G network.
Telstra has been building its 5G network since 2016, and says the current technology reaches CBD locations and selected regional centres — where four million Australians live, work or pass each day.
The moves follow on from previously detailed deals with smartphone manufacturers to bring 5G phones “exclusively” to its 5G mobile network in the first half of this year, signalling that it was working with HTC to bring its HTC 5G Hub to Australians.
In Sydney on Monday morning, the phone recorded download speeds of more than 1200 megabytes per second or 1.2Gbps.
This is a huge leap considering Australia has slipped three places on the global rankings to 62nd in the world, with an average speed of 35.11Mbps, according to Ookla.
Telstra consumer executive Kevin Teoh said the first 5G-enabled smartphone was a major step towards “bringing the revolutionary mobile technology to life”:
“This is a game-changing moment for our customers. 5G promises our customers even better connectivity. Its ultra-fast speeds, ultra-low latency and greater bandwidth will transform the way we live and work by enabling all sorts of future applications and technologies.”
The HTC 5G Hub is now available from Telstra stores and is available to order online. Thousands of Australians have already rushed to purchase the new ‘next generation’ device.
The technology is limited, however, and has only been distributed to selected areas for now.
5G HOTSPOTS IN MY AREA?
The new 5G device is available in 15 regions at the moment, and in the next few months, it will be rolled out to around 35 locations.
Telstra has released coverage maps that show expected coverage of the new 5G network.
Click here to search individual hotspot coverage by suburb.
Telstra’s initial rollout of available 5G regions covers Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, the Gold Coast, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney and Toowomba.
The biggest question for many will be whether 5G is actually available in your area, and unless you live in one of cities Telstra has launched with, you’re out of luck. Or perhaps – in luck!
It is important to be careful about the use of the word “coverage”, because this isn’t a thick blanket of 5G data across every square kilometre of those locations.
It’s actually a mobile hotspot, and while Optus has indicated that its first 5G services will use a fixed location modem, Telstra is going mobile with the HTC 5G Hotspot.
This test model is still very far away from the complete vision of a connected 5G grid in Australia, as international approval for 5G spectrum use is still awaiting finalisation. However, it is a start, and a successful one nonetheless.
Battery life from the 7,660mAh battery will vary by usage, with a claimed battery life of 24 hours, and the 5G symbol appearing on the device represents that 5G is available on the network in the vicinity of the device.
In the same way that 4G brought apps, social media and video streaming to our phones, 5G is being seen as the next industrial revolution where the new access to these speeds will change how we interact and use our smartphones entirely.
In the coming weeks, we will be hearing from more smartphone manufacturers with their 5G phones set for Australia and fully expect this will become the new norm.
Telstra says that it’s working to bring more areas of Australia online with 5G through 2019 and 2020, although it hasn’t yet released specific details of the next set of available sites.
However, it’s a fair bet that it will target heavily populated areas and expand capital city coverage in short order.
2020 ROLLOUT BEGINS
As we have reported, the Department of Communications have detailed plans to support a timely rollout of 5G in Australia by 2020, spelling out the road map in, 5G — Enabling the Future Economy.
According to the document, the rollout of 5G in Australia will “enable the next wave of productivity and innovation across different sectors of the Australian economy”.
As a result, the 5G race between telecommunications companies began in 2018, with both Telstra and Optus undertaking testing of the technology.
5G technology will be the underlying driving factor behind the coming digital era of humanity, or “Fourth-Industrial Revolution” as many experts are calling it, including plans to introduce new ‘smart city’ infrastructure across Australia.
The government fully admits that the new initiative is part of Australia’s significant contribution toward achievement of Agenda 2030 ‘Sustainable Development Goal’ 11.
The ’Smart Cities‘ Plan sets out the Australian government’s vision for our cities, including three pillars sustained by 5G technology: Smart Investment, Smart Policy and Smart Technology.
“We intend to test end-to-end banking solutions over 5G – showcasing what the bank of the future might look like, and exploring how 5G edge compute can reduce the network infrastructure required at individual bank branches.”
Telstra CEO, Andy Penn echoed sentiments we have reported about this technology only being the beginning of a much larger transition to 5G:
“The roll out of 5G coverage is ongoing and, as 5G develops, there will be more devices and more technologies to come. But this is an important step we take today, as the first Australian network to offer mobile 5G.”
The government has convened a 5G working group between industry representatives to work towards a 2020 rollout, with many of the major mobile manufacturers announcing plans to produce 5G phones later in 2019.
5G rollout set for 2020 in Australia | TOTT News
Hands-on with the Telstra HTC 5G Hub | Finder.com.au
5G—Enabling the future economy | Department of Communications
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