Telstra launches 5G across Canberra, Adelaide, Perth

Telstra now has 50 live 5G sites, with the latest across parts of the cities of Canberra, Adelaide, and Perth.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra has launched its 5G network across Canberra, Adelaide, and Perth, with the telco also making its 5G partnership with Ericsson official in announcing that the Swedish giant will be supplying its software and hardware networking solutions for the nationwide deployment.

Adelaide's first 5G mobile base station is in Flinders Street; Canberra's is in Pialligo, with more going live on Thursday in Phillip, Lyons, and Fyshwick; while Perth's first 5G site will be in Narrows Bridge in the CBD.

Telstra said it now has 50 base stations live across its 5G network; however, there are no commercial devices that currently make use of it.

"Ericsson has worked closely with us to ensure Canberra, Adelaide, and Perth are among the first locations in Australia to be upgraded with 5G technology," Telstra CEO Andy Penn said on Wednesday morning.

"Today's 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."

One such world first was Telstra, Ericsson, and Intel making a 5G data call across a commercial mobile network in July.

The call, completed using the 5G non-standalone (NSA) network at Telstra's 5G Innovation Centre in the Gold Coast, made use of Telstra's 3.5GHz spectrum holdings and SIM card; Ericsson's commercial 5G NR radio 6488, baseband, and packet core; and Intel's 5G Mobile Trial Platform.

Penn last month told ZDNet that Telstra already has its 5G network live across 15 towers -- 13 in the Gold Coast, one in Toowoomba, and one in Brisbane, with 200 to go live by the end of 2018.

"We've got a very clear plan and roadmap in progress for where that deployment is going to happen, and we've got all of our partners lined up to support that rollout," Penn told ZDNet.

"We need the handset and the device manufacturers to start building equipment at scale now. Initially by having the 5G network ready, what that enables us to do is to trial and test the early versions of the handsets and dongles and mobile hotspots and tablets, and the manufacturers come through and test them outside of the lab environment and in a commercial environment."

Penn added that Telstra is "absolutely leading the world in 5G", and has "always punched above its weight" on the international stage.

Telstra ED of Network and Infrastructure Engineering Channa Seneviratne then revealed in September that the telco's next 5G launch would be based around smart cities, with the telco choosing each of its 200 initial launch sites for showcasing different use cases.

"We will launch another regional centre which I can't name yet where we're going to do smart cities," Seneviratne told media during Telstra Vantage 2018 in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Seneviratne said the 5G launch in Toowoomba was based on a partnership with FKG Group, which had opened a Tier III datacentre in the region earlier this year, and on enabling agricultural technology applications.

"Within 100km of Toowoomba, you've got every single different type of agriculture ... Toowoomba is becoming a centre where there's advanced agri-tech being developed," he said.

"They're creating an advanced industrial precinct for high-tech agri-tech, so for us to provide them with 5G coverage is a really important thing to enable this next wave of industrial development."

Current COO and incoming CFO Robyn Denholm last month also revealed that the telco is partnering with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia on 5G.

"It's not just the industrial sector that are using these types of technologies; we're also working with customers across the board in other areas, and financial technology is one of those, and financial services," Denholm said.

"If you look at what we're doing with Commonwealth Bank today ... we're actually working with them today on what 5G can enable in their mobile banking of the future."

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