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Telstra makes Australia’s first live 5G connection

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Telstra has achieved a major milestone in its 5G connection strategy by making Australia’s first live 5G data call using a commercial 5G chipset on Telstra’s mobile network.

It all happened on the Gold Coast using a form factor device – most likely a device fashioned to look like a smart phone using the latest 5G chipset from Qualcomm.

The connection used Telstra’s 3.5 GHz commercial spectrum, Ericsson’s latest 5G network software and Qualcomm’s commercial 5G chipset.

“Telstra’s strategic relationship with these global industry partners allows Telstra to test, understand and demonstrate real world 5G capability so we can advance the deployment of 5G and immediately bring it to our customers as soon as devices are commercially available,” said Channa Seneviratne, Telstra’s Network Engineering Executive.

“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone as it signals that commercial 5G devices are getting closer and closer.

“Field testing in our real-world mobile network with this chipset over our commercial spectrum moves the verification well and truly from the lab into the street.

“The team will continue testing over the coming months to improve data rates and overall performance in readiness for device availability.”

Now while this is a feather in the cap for Telstra and an indication of the company’s commitment to the latest mobile network technology, it will still be some time before customers see the first 5G handsets appear on the market.

While 5G has been in development for some time, device manufacturers are not quite at the point of releasing products that will work on the network.

The new Qualcomm chipset used in the Telstra test, is sure to be the basis for the technology included in the next generation smartphones from major manufacturers.

Leading companies like Samsung, Apple and Huawei are not likely to produce 5G devices until the end of 2019 at the earliest with 2020 being the most realistic timeframe.

For Telstra, this achievement is the latest in a series of firsts for the company.

Back in February, Telstra launched its 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast supporting Ericsson to coincide with the Commonwealth Games.

That centre produced world and Australian firsts including the first precinct of 5G-enabled Wi-Fi hotspots, Australia’s first 5G connected car, the world’s first end-to-end 5G non-standalone data call on a commercial mobile network as well as the launch of over 50 5G-enabled sites around the country.

Telstra has invested $5 billion in mobile network investment over the three years to 30 June 2019 to enhance the capacity, capability and reach of Telstra’s network.