5G is set to be the newest generation of wireless technology, and has real potential to change the way customers, business, and industry connect and operate day to day.
5G is expected to enhance existing 4G services with additional capacity, higher speeds, and lower latency (delay time), and support huge numbers of machine connections.
For customers, this will take video consumption to a whole new level, enable radical new use cases such a remote medical procedure, self-drive cars, autonomous drones and further support the massive increase in IoT connected devices expected in the coming decades.
Additionally, one of the key strengths of 5G will be delivering these benefits to key industries (such as mining, transport, and agriculture) when and how they need it, in order to improve automation, process control, and monitoring.
Telstra is well placed to evolve our 4G service, and we are putting the building blocks in place for Australia to be ready for 5G. Even though a major deployment of 5G is not expected until 2020, there’s lots of work underway around standards, testing, and spectrum and Telstra is at the forefront of these developments. Here’s an overview of what’s underway.
5G TEST BED
Ericsson’s 5G radio test bed, which is sometimes referred to as a 5G trial system, will soon arrive in Australia and I’m pleased to announce Telstra will be the first to test its potential. We’ll be running a demonstration in September that will look at 5G capabilities in a real world environment. We’ll be testing the expected high speeds and ultra-low latency, as well as Multi-User MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output). This is where multiple antennas carry data to and from the end user, which ultimately improves the performance for customers.
The demonstration will also test beam steering technology, where the beam steering antenna array tracks your location and directs a mobile signal straight to your device rather than sending it out in all directions or to a particular sector as it does today. The advantage of beam steering is that the mobile signal to each user is optimised with less interference resulting in better network performance and more capacity.
I’m looking forward to seeing the results of this demonstration, as it will help us fulfil our goal of rolling out a full-scale 5G service on Telstra’s mobile network in Australia.
Telstra has also been contributing to the international 5G industry standards to ensure that the upcoming technologies are suited to our expansive rural environments, and take into account Australia’s unique flora (believe it or not, even our eucalyptus trees) in the 5G channel modelling to provide the best possible experience for our customers.
COLLABORATION WITH ERICSSON’S 5G CENTRE IN SWEDEN
We’ve been embedding Telstra employees into Ericsson’s 5G Research teams in Sweden to develop the 5G radio channel models and to train our engineers on the fundamentals of 5G radio operations. This is key to ensure that we’re bringing the best experience to our Australian customers.
We also recently conducted 5G radio testing at Ericsson’s 5G experience centre with tests in the lab delivering download speeds of greater than 20Gbps. That’s the equivalent of downloading around 4,000 different HD movies all at the same time.
5G-READY CORE NETWORK
We have started the process of modernising our wireless core network in preparation for 5G with network function virtualisation (NFV) and software defined networking (SDN) technologies. This allows us to support increased network configuration and deployment flexibility to different market segments, and to tailor their wireless connectivity through a concept called Network Slicing.
TELSTRA’S 5G TRIAL ON THE GOLD COAST IN 2018
At Mobile World Congress earlier this year, we announced our plans to deploy the first 5G trial on Telstra’s mobile network on the Gold Coast in 2018. Planning for this trial continues and we’re excited to be testing new 5G technologies and applications.