In the last year we’ve made huge strides forward in rolling out our 5G technology at many sites across Australia – a move that has been the result of extensive testing and validation at our 5G Innovation Centre on the Gold Coast. We’ve used a variety of devices over that time to test the technology, and that has led us to our first 5G device demonstration – the HTC 5G Hub.

Over that time, we have used a range of test platforms to evaluate and demonstrate 5G technology. Our road to 5G started with a comparatively large test device from Ericsson which arrived in September 2016, that we nicknamed the ‘bar fridge’. That test bed gave us our first live trial of 5G in Australia. After being used for early testing, it’s now employed to power the world’s first 5G-enabled free Wi-Fi precinct at Southport.

In February 2018 we also started testing 5G using the Intel 5G Mobile Test Platform (MTP), and in July that test platform was further upgraded to suit the developing 5G standards. This MTP helped us achieve several world-first 5G milestones including a competitive esports gaming experience at very low latency and our first 5G non-standalone data call on a commercial mobile network. The test platform also operated in Australia’s first 5G connected car.

In just over a year, we’ve moved from a testing platform the size of a bar fridge to a prototype ‘form factor’ device from Qualcomm Technologies – still slightly larger than a current smartphone, and a little thicker and heavier. The Qualcomm MTP recently helped make possible our first real world 5G data call using a commercial 5G chipset that will power many future 5G-ready smartphones and other devices.

We’re also continuing our 5G testing using current generation form factor prototypes for 5G handsets and mobile broadband hotspots from several technology partners including Inseego and ZTE.

All of the behind-the-scenes testing at our 5G Innovation Centre and across the country has led us to this point. We’re finally ready to unveil our first 5G device: the HTC 5G Hub, a smart mobile broadband device that has been co-developed with Telstra and, subject to further testing, will be the first commercial 5G device that we will retail in the first half of 2019. The 5G Hub has successfully been connected to our 5G service – the first in Australia and the first 5G mid-band device in the world to do so.

The HTC 5G Hub.

“HTC is leading a new wave of mobile innovation with 5G technology that paves the way for a more connected future,” said Cher Wang, Chairwoman and CEO of HTC. “We’re proud to work with Telstra to bring 5G to Australia and to showcase one of the first instances of live 5G in the world.”

Our 5G rollout continues as we work to enable 200 base stations with 5G technology before the end of the year, across cities like Canberra, Perth and Adelaide and regional areas like Toowoomba, as part of our commitment to lead the development of 5G in Australia.

When we think about the future of 5G, we’re only just starting to experience the promise and potential of our new networks. We’ve hit milestones for data and video calls, but the real future capability lies in transformative technologies like the Internet of Things, smart cities, and autonomous connected cars. Only time will tell how our customers use the power of 5G to create a world where we’re more connected than ever before.