5G The technology that is re-defining the Telecom Sector in Australia
Team Veye | 30-Dec-2018
What will the technology offer?
5G is the next step in mobile technology, multiplying the bandwidth of existing 4G networks 10 times. The customers using this technology can expect significantly faster mobile speeds up to 20 gigabits per second. It may also cause a noticeable reduction in network congestion, especially during peak usage periods.
When would it be accessible?
The customers may not have access to 5G services until compatible devices become commercially available and that doesn’t seem likely until 2nd half of next year. Major manufacturers like Samsung, OPPO, Huawei and OnePlus have all confirmed plans to release 5G-capable phones over the next 12 months and Apple is predicted to launch a 5G-enabled iPhone in late 2020. Although the early switch-on of 5G does offer some advantages for existing phone customers as the 5G network is expected to help improve current 4G speeds, so the customers will reportedly enjoy an overall better 4G performance in the coming months.
Which telecom player is taking the lead?
Telstra has spent considerable time and money preparing for 2019’s 5G network launch. The company has recently claimed several 5G firsts – both in Australia and worldwide – including completing the first end-to-end 5G data call, launching the world’s first 5G-enabled WiFi precinct on the Gold Coast, and showcasing Australia’s first 5G e-sports demonstration. Earlier in December, Telstra also unveiled its first 5G-ready device, the HTC 5G Hub for mobile broadband.
Regarding the recent spectrum auction, ACMA said it raised approximately AUD 853 million ($615.6 million) after selling 350 available spectrum lots during the recent 5G auction. Dense Air Australia won 29 lots for AUD 18.49 million; Mobile JV, the joint venture of TPG Telecom and Vodafone Hutchison Australia, won 131 lots for AUD 263.2 million; Optus won 47 lots for AUD 185 million; and Telstra won 143 lots for AUD 386 million taking the lead in the Australian Telecom Sector. ACMA said that the 5G licenses won at auction will start in March 2020 and will extend until December 2030 — but that earlier access was possible, so long as no interference would be caused to existing licensees.
Although the ACMA originally licensed the available lots to be released from March 2020, it seems Telstra has been granted early access to enable its newly-acquired spectrum. The company announced on 19th Dec’18 that 5G has now been switched on at Telstra’s Customer Insight Centre in Sydney, and at Sydney Airport. The telco has also enabled 5G at the Telstra Labs in Melbourne, with its Melbourne Airport base station also scheduled go live sometime this week. The Company also confirmed that it now has 5G-enabled sites in all major cities nationwide. Telstra now boasts 187 5G-ready mobile base stations across Australia, with 13 more scheduled to go live this month – but unfortunately, customers will have to wait until later next year to actually use 5G technology.
Telstra’s 5G focus also means that rival providers Optus and Vodafone are feeling the pressure to develop and roll out their own respective 5G networks as soon as possible. But it is very evident that Telstra has taken an early lead in the 5G space which is going to change the dynamics of the Australian Telecom Sector in the years to come.
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