We’ve reached another milestone in delivering the full power of 5G to Australia. Our mobile network is now end-to-end enabled for 5G Standalone (5G SA), increasing efficiency and enabling new and innovative uses for mobile technology at the same time.

This upgrade means that 5G Standalone capable devices will be able to operate purely in 5G mode, without the support of underlying 4G technology as occurs today. We’re also underway with our early testing of the first of these devices, which should become available to our customers from late 2020.

Standalone 5G uses the 5G network for data transfer just like our existing non-standalone 5G, but also uses 5G for the signalling communication between device and base station. That communication happening over 5G means many more devices can communicate simultaneously, at higher speeds, and in many more complex ways than 4G can. We’re the first telco in Australia to enable Standalone 5G across our network, and one of the first in the world.

As is often the case with our mobile networks, the work to switch on Standalone 5G has mostly happened behind the scenes, but it has been a mammoth task. Working together with our technology partner Ericsson, we’ve enabled new 5G service-based architecture, upgrading our 5G radio network coverage footprint across Australia with a Cloud Native 5G Core Network to handle this standalone traffic.

The largest and most transformational benefits of 5G – ultra-reliable low latency, much higher capacity, massive machine type communications and advanced functions like network slicing where we can optimise portions of our network for specific customers’ needs – are only possible with Standalone 5G.

5G Standalone brings with it capabilities that will allow us to deliver a range of new services delivering the right connectivity, capacity and speed for individual applications. The end-to-end network is effectively “sliced” according to the requirements (connectivity, capacity and speed) of the application.

This milestone is a big one for those reasons, but we’ll also continue to evolve the capability of 5G as the technology itself develops so we can bring the latest advantages of 5G to our customers.

We’re already talking with some of our partners to see what they can do with this new upgrade to 5G. The capability is now in place for some exciting innovations from our enterprise business partners – for example, a branch office of a bank may be able to stand up and operate multiple applications and services using only a 5G Standalone capable device for network access, massively reducing the infrastructure required to set up.

We’re proud to be leading the way in Australia and around the world in ensuring our customers have early access to all the benefits of advancing 5G technology. This upgrade means that our customers will not only have access to Australia’s best 5G*, but they can also start to explore what can be done with the best 5G network experience.

Things you need to know

* Telstra has rolled out coverage to selected areas in Australia. Find 5G coverage maps on our Coverage page.