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5 things you should know about 5G and EME

5G

Posted on June 7, 2019

4 min read

Telstra is at the forefront of 5G in Australia, with our nationwide roll-out of 5G already in all major Australian cities and expanding to more cities, regional centres and high traffic areas in 2019 and beyond. Part of our work, with our partners across government and the telecommunications industry, is to educate Australians on 5G and EME and answer your questions.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile network technology, following 2G, 3G and 4G. It has the potential to offer super-fast connections and response times and more capacity than previous generations, and is designed to meet the needs of the large growth in demand for data and connectivity from our customers and businesses.

5G works in conjunction with existing mobile technologies like 4G.

Is 5G safe?

We are confident 5G adds no risk compared to existing technologies.

We rely on the expert advice of both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) for overall assessments of health and safety impacts. The WHO and ARPANSA advise that there is no substantiated scientific evidence that radiofrequency technologies that operate within national and international safety standards cause health effects.

The advice from WHO is that ‘there is no evidence that exposure to low level EME is harmful to human health”.

The frequencies and power levels we are using today for 5G are similar to 3G and 4G. Over 50 years of scientific research has already been conducted into the possible health effects of the radio signals used for mobile phones, base stations and other wireless services, including the frequency bands now being redeployed for 5G. The existing safety standards for EME set by the Australian Health Department cover 5G, include children and are conservative.

All of our research has found 5G EME levels to be similar to 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi. The EME levels measured were found to be well below the safety limits, and in many cases over a thousand times lower.

What testing has Telstra done in relation to 5G?

We have done extensive EME testing on our 5G network, including testing on both our trial 5G network and the 5G network that we have already begun to roll out around Australia. The EME levels measured were found to be well below the safety limits, and in many cases over a thousand times lower.

We continually monitor our network (including EME levels), and the ACMA conducts audits to check compliance with the EME safety standards.

What does the government say about 5G and EME?

ARPANSA, the agency of the Commonwealth Government tasked with protecting people and the environment from the harmful effects of radiation, says that “there is no established health effects from the radio waves that the 5G network uses”.

The agency also notes that some anti-5G campaigns are generating “unfounded fear and concern” and spreading misinformation within the community.

ARPANSA also addresses anecdotes of health problems that some individuals believe may be attributed to exposure to radio waves. “ARPANSA and the World Health Organization (WHO) are not aware of any well-conducted scientific investigations where health symptoms were confirmed as a result of radio wave exposure in the everyday environment.” It goes on to say that “there is a lack of evidence that exposure to radio waves is the cause” of these health problems.

What is mmWave and is it safe?

mmWave, or millimetre wave, is a portion of the radiofrequency spectrum between 30GHz and 300GHz.

mmWave is not new – it is already used in Australia for wireless services like fixed point-to-point communications infrastructure and satellite internet, including through the NBN’s Sky Muster satellite service. The existing EME safety standards and extensive research to date includes mmWave.

Telstra’s 5G technology does not currently use mmWave frequencies, however we plan to use mmWave in the future when spectrum becomes available.

Telstra’s mmWave 5G trials showed EME levels were very low and similar to existing technologies.

Tags: 5g, customers, EME,

Australia’s first 5G smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, is now in stores

5G

Posted on May 28, 2019

3 min read

Just like Francis, our “Collector of Firsts”, says, there’s something very special about having the first of something.

From today, we’re putting a very special first into our customers’ hands – the power of Australia’s first 5G network, with the launch of the nation’s inaugural 5G handset, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.

The possibilities 5G offers are extensive. Its potential to deliver high speeds and low latency can enable not only fast download speeds for our customers, but also unlocks capacity for thousands of new devices working together on our network.

In ideal conditions, unaffected by congestion and other factors that will affect speed, the results on the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G in speed test are so far impressive.

We expect customers to experience slower speeds when using one of these devices in real world conditions, and we have more testing to do before we can give a range of typical speeds on Telstra 5G, but we expect 5G will be typically faster than 4G today and it will continue to improve as the 5G technology is further refined.

We have started rolling out 5G in 10 cities around Australia. Over the next 12 months or so we expect our 5G coverage to increase in area almost five-fold and reach into at least 35 Australian cities. Importantly, all of Telstra’s 5G devices will work in our 5G and 4GX coverage areas, to provide customers our best possible mobile speeds available.

As well as its superior connectivity, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G packs in an incredibly vibrant 6.7-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display, which pushes vivid detail right to the edge of the screen thanks to its Infinity-O Display technology. Then there’s the pioneering features it shares with its other members of the Galaxy S10 family, such as the first ever ultrasonic fingerprint reader and a wireless PowerShare feature, which allows you charge other devices simply by resting them on the back of your smartphone.

As part of the Telstra and Samsung partnership, customers who purchased a Samsung Galaxy S10+ through Telstra during the eligibility period earlier this year can now take advantage of the special upgrade offer, which allows them to trade in their S10+ for the new S10 5G at no extra cost. These customers will have 21 days from 28 May to redeem the offer.

We’re proud to partner our ground-breaking 5G network with Samsung’s first incredible 5G-enabled handset to help make technology history today. 5G will unlock a world of possibilities for our customers, and we can’t wait to see all of them brought to life.

Telstra currently offers 5G in select areas and is progressively rolling it out to other areas. In non-5G coverage areas, you’ll enjoy Australia’s fastest average 4G speeds on our extensive 4GX coverage footprint and automatically switch to 3G in areas beyond . Check coverage at telstra.com/coverage.

How to get the most out of your HTC 5G Hub

5G

Posted on May 27, 2019

1 min read

Launch of our first 5G device - HTC 5G Hub

With the exciting launch of the fabulous new HTC 5G Hub, we want to make sure you’re able to get the best speeds out of your device from day one. Follow our step-by-step guide to get the fastest speeds out of your new device.

When the HTC 5G Hub is shipped to you, the default software profile means the device is set to broadcast a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network signal. This is the typical frequency used by most Wi-Fi modems, routers and other access points. To get the most out of your device, you’ll need to enable the 5GHz frequency instead.

Here’s how:

  1. Tap “Device”.

2. Tap “Settings”.

3. Tap the “Network & Internet” menu.

4. Tap “Wi-Fi hotspot”.

5. Tap “Advanced”.

6. Tap “AP band”.

7. Change default setting from “2.4GHz” to “5GHz”.

After that, you’re good to go!

Find out more about 5G at Telstra.com.

Tags: 5g, HTC 5G Hub,

Answering your questions on 5G and EME: our new 5G FAQ

5G

Posted on April 18, 2019

4 min read

As 5G accelerates towards the mainstream, and with many stories on 5G and health appearing around the internet, we have updated our 5G and electromagnetic energy (EME) information to bring you an extensive 5G FAQ answering the common questions we have received.

Many of the conversations revolve around the significant benefits of 5G for Australians and how the technology works. In 2018, in conjunction with Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) we launched 5G Explained, covering all the fundamentals of 5G.

Australians have also been asking what the EME levels from 5G will be – and are they safe? What happens when 5G is added to all the existing EME from other mobile technologies?

Answering your questions on 5G

To answer these exact questions, we have been conducting extensive EME testing on all of our mobile technologies – including both the 5G trial network and the new commercial network.

In 2018 we conducted extensive EME testing and analysis on the 5G trial network at Southport on the Gold Coast, and also commenced EME testing on the new 3.5GHz commercial base stations. The test results show EME levels are similar to the existing mobile technologies, and well below the EME safety limits.

As an example, we conducted EME testing on the streets of Southport in the busy pedestrian mall which is close to three mobile base stations and our 5G trial site at the Southport Exchange.

The maximum EME level we measured from all mobile, radio and TV broadcast services was more than 500 times below the safety limits. This is typical of what you would find in many communities.

Further north at Musgrave Hill, we tested the EME levels opposite a new 5G base station and the maximum EME level (again at busy times during the day) was more than 700 times below the safety limits.

To test the EME levels on 5G, we had the eSports gaming trial running and loaded up the 5G network with a special test device downloading data to simulate high traffic loads. In November 2018 we presented a summary of the 5G EME testing results to the Science and Wireless Conference, held by the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR) – the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Centre of Research Excellence. We rely on their research material for conducting our health assessments.

The presentation is available online here.

In terms of 5G and health, scientific experts from the ACEBR have also published a new 5G Wireless Technology Fact Sheet covering the latest on EME research and safety. A key question they cover is:

What do we know about 5G and health?

Extensive research has been conducted on the 5G frequencies soon to be introduced, including specifically on mobile phone applications. For future 5G frequencies, there has been extensive research on other applications using these frequencies (for example, radar and military applications) which have been using these frequencies for many decades at power levels far higher than those used in mobile telecommunications. No indication of any health impacts from exposures at the intensities related to mobile communications have been observed. (ACEBR Wireless technologies fact sheet 2018)

With so much information on EME and health available online it’s completely understandable when people say ‘we just don’t know who to believe’.

This is why at Telstra we rely on the expert advice of a number of national and international health authorities, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Commission for Non Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) for overall assessments relating to health and safety.

We make sure all of our base stations, including the 5G base stations, are designed to ensure they comply with the stringent EME safety standards, and we publish the compliance certificates and EME reports for each base station on the Radiofrequency National Site Archive.

We are continuing the 5G EME testing program throughout 2019, and will publish updates during the year.

Tags: 5g, EME,

What we need to get right as 5G dawns

Network

Posted on April 9, 2019

3 min read

In just nine short months, we will find ourselves at the dawn of the 2020s. We’re already at the dawn of 5G and the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution. But to succeed in these times of great change Australia needs policy settings that are well crafted, support competition, encourage investment and protect customers, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn told the CommsDay Summit in Sydney today.

Mr Penn told Summit delegates telecommunications were fast becoming the most critical category of infrastructure in the world today. He said all telecommunications technologies – mobile and fixed, 4G and 5G, fibre and copper, HFC and fixed wireless, satellite and radio – had a role to play in meeting the huge growth in demand for coverage, capacity and speed.

Also critical was having the right policy setting in place to promote innovation and investment, he said.

“We absolutely need the right policy settings to promote investment, innovation, competition, safety and security and most importantly to protect customers and ensure digital inclusion,” Mr Penn said.

“High-quality telecommunications networks require an incredible amount of capital investment. There is no point in application developers or managed services providers investing in great products and services if network providers do not have the incentive to invest.

“Capital as a percentage of sales in the industry has been gradually creeping up globally over the last 15 years as the industry copes with the insatiable demand for more data, speed, coverage and resiliency. It is estimated that globally the mobile industry will invest almost half a trillion dollars between 2018 and 2020 on just preparing for and rolling out 5G.”

Mr Penn said the telecommunications industry has spent more than $36 billion on capex over the last three years but the return on that investment was dropping. He said recent PwC research found the return on invested capital had dropped from 12% in 2012 to just 7% in 2016.

“The NBN has obviously been a big contributor to this investment, but in fact more than half of it is actually coming from operators such as Telstra. We will invest in the order of $4bn alone this year,” Mr Penn said.

“However, at the same time capex is increasing, returns in the industry on that capex are reducing. This is unsustainable, as ultimately it will hurt investment capacity within the industry and lead to a degradation in the quality of networks.”

Mr Penn said the dawn of 5G meant a completely different scale of connectivity and this made it an important inflection point for the sector as the challenges, opportunities and complexities became increasingly clear, not just for industry but for government and regulators.

“With telecommunications becoming the world’s most important infrastructure there is a lot we need to get right in making sure our policies and regulations are well crafted, support competition, encourage investment and protect customers,” Mr Penn said.

“Done badly, even where policy has consumers’ best interests at heart, it is the consumers who suffer the most through higher costs and less responsiveness to their changing needs.

“Done well however, I believe we have an incredibly exciting future ahead, and we all have a role to play. And together I am certain we will deliver for the benefit of all Australians.”

You can read CEO Andrew Penn’s keynote address to the CommsDay Summit 2019 here.

Tags: 5g, networks,