Today, we turned on 5G enabled mobile base stations in Adelaide, Canberra and Perth. We are the first carrier to deploy 5G in these three cities and these sites are among the first locations in Australia to be upgraded with 5G technology.

Now that the key technical standards for 5G have been agreed globally, device and chip set manufacturers can get on with the job of building 5G compatible smartphones, dongles, sensors and Wi-Fi hotspots and we can roll-out 5G technology knowing these devices will work on our network as soon as they hit the market.

With these upgrades in Flinders St in Adelaide, at Narrows Bridge in the Perth CBD and at Pialligo in Canberra – with another four coming on line tomorrow in Canberra at Phillip, Lyons and two sites at Fyshwick – we have now passed the milestone of completing 5G upgrades for 50 base stations. We are on track to hit our target of deploying 200 5G enabled base stations in our mobile network by the end of this calendar year.

In another important milestone in our 5G technology development and rollout, today we also announced Ericsson as our key 5G partner under an agreement that will see the two companies partner to deliver the next generation of mobile technology for Australia.

This signing marks a strategic partnership that has developed between Telstra and Ericsson over many years, and one that has resulted in nearly 40 world and Australian firsts.

5G was a key element of Telstra’s T22 strategy and the decision to appoint Ericsson as its 5G technology partner was a critical one.

5G will deliver ultra-low latency and high-data speeds while supporting massive machine-type communications. As such, 5G will fuel a host of new economy activity and new products and services across different industries.

That it is why it is crucial that Australia is at the cutting edge of 5G technology, and together Telstra and Ericsson will deliver this.

These early deployments of 5G give us the opportunity to test the new technology for Australian conditions in a real life network environment, including looking at how 5G interacts with our existing 3G and 4G services, which will continue to carry the bulk of network traffic for the next couple of years at least.

In the global race to lead on 5G, waiting months or years to start to deploy the new technology means Australian consumers and businesses would be at risk of missing out on the opportunity to be among the first in the world to enjoy the benefits of 5G.

This is not a risk we are willing to take, which is why we are pushing ahead with rolling out 5G now, despite the fact devices are not yet available, with the first 5G compatible devices expected to be commercially available in 2019.

Telstra has a history of investing ahead of the technology curve to ensure we have the latest capabilities in place to serve our customers. We are proud to partner with Ericsson to pioneer 5G technology in this country and to ensure that together we continue to deliver market leading innovation in networks.