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Telstra customers will be the first to use the next wave of 5G in Australia

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Telstra will be giving its customers early access to the millimetre wave (mmWave) 5G spectrum before the middle of the year with the launch of Australia’s first mmWave 5G-enabled portable wi-fi hotspot.

Telstra has already begun internal testing of the technology with work already underway rolling out trial sites before an expected auction of the mmWave spectrum in 2021.

“mmWave will supercharge 5G. Its higher capacity and the potential to deliver even faster speeds as well as lower latency will help power the next generation of devices and innovations,” says Telstra CEO Andy Penn.

Telstra CEO Andy Penn with the new Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro

“Putting its power and opportunities into the hands of our customers early will put them at the forefront of this revolutionary technology.

“More than four million people now pass through our 5G footprint and can access it’s benefits on any given day. We will continue to work to deliver world-leading connectivity for our customers.”

mmWave has the potential to deliver even faster 5G speeds because it has a higher frequency spectrum along with low latency.

26Ghz will be the first mmWave band used in Australia for mobile services.

The Telstra 5G Wi-Fi Pro, Australia’s first mmWave-enabled device, will be made available for customers closer to the early mmWave rollout.

Telstra has been working with network partner Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies to recently test the first mmWave live mobile base station.

Telstra says 26Ghz is already on its way to becoming one of the most popular spectrum bands for 5G mmWave in Europe and Asia.

“This announcement is an important step in realising the benefits of mmWave spectrum for Australia and the world,” says Emilio Romeo, head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand. “With 5G live demonstrations on the 26GHz band now underway, this is a significant step in showcasing how mmWave can be scaled and integrated into a commercial mobile network.

“Ericsson is pleased to be working with Telstra and Qualcomm Technologies to drive industry leadership through ongoing innovation and collaboration, and importantly helping Telstra to ensure Australians are among the first customers in the world to experience this technology.”

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc senior vice president and general manager, 4G/5G Durga Malladi said: “With the fully integrated modem-to-antenna Qualcomm Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System, we continue to enable the industry to utilise the benefits of 5G mmWave technology by delivering peak multi- gigabit data speeds and capacity.”

Telstra also announced the reach of its latest 4G LTE cells, built with Ericsson, will now be up to 200km.

The first extended cell site is in Mount Dowe in NSW and is a demonstration of the critical capability of 4G broadband coverage.